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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - June 10, 2024

TUI Cruises takes delivery of Mein Schiff 7
TUI Cruises has taken delivery of Mein Schiff 7 from shipbuilders Meyer Turku in Finland.

The seventh ship in the Mein Schiff fleet was handed over at an official signing ceremony attended by Meyer Turku’s CEO Tim Meyer and head of projects Tom Degerman, and TUI Cruises’ CEO Wybcke Meier and chief financial officer Frank Kuhlmann.

“Mein Schiff 7’s symbolic start of production, the steel cutting ceremony, took place at our shipyard on 14 June 2022,” said Meyer. “We are very proud to have delivered Mein Schiff 7 to TUI Cruises today, less than two years later. This was made possible by our long-standing and close cooperation.”

Mein Schiff 7 has capacity for 2,894 passengers and 1,477 crew and is the first ship in the Mein Schiff fleet to run exclusively on low-emission marine diesel. It’s also the first ship built at the Meyer Turku shipyard equipped with methanol capability, so in the future it can run on green methanol, which should, according to Meyer Turku, make the ship’s propulsion power almost carbon neutral. The ship, which will be christened on 21 June, also has shore power connection enabling it to reduce emissions while in port.

“Receiving this ship is a special moment for us,” said Meier. “Ten years ago, we acquired our first Blu Motion class ship here in Turku, and by 2019 we had built a total of six vessels. We would like to thank the Meyer Turku shipyard for their excellent cooperation and the development of our well-being fleet. We are now sailing Mein Schiff 7 to Kiel, where we will welcome the first guests on board on 12 June.”

Rare Visit to Bora Bora Is Newest Highlight of Holland America Line’s ‘Tales of the South Pacific’ Legendary Voyage
Holland America Line, an industry leader in destination-centric longer voyages, has updated this fall’s Legendary Voyage, “Tales of the South Pacific”, to now include a call to Bora Bora, French Polynesia. Zaandam will become one of an exclusive group of ships to call at the island, providing guests an exciting addition to an already idyllic vacation.

Departing Sept. 25 from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, or Sept. 30, roundtrip San Diego, California, the 51-Day or 56-Day Tales of the South Pacific Legendary Voyage aboard Zaandam is an in-depth exploration of the South Pacific. In addition to Bora Bora, guests will visit exciting ports throughout Hawaii and the South Pacific, all gems of the region, including five ports in Hawaii, four ports in Fiji, seven additional calls in French Polynesia and calls at Kiribati, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Zaandam will arrive in Bora Bora at 8 a.m. and depart just before midnight Nov. 6, 2024, giving guests nearly 16 hours to take in all the island has to offer.

“Bora Bora earned the nickname ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ for good reason as it is consistently rated among the most popular tourist destinations in the world,” said Paul Grigsby, vice president, deployment and itinerary planning for Holland America Line. “We’re thrilled to be able to add the port to this year’s Tales of the South Pacific cruise, giving our guests an even more select and in-depth exploration of the region.”

Bora Bora is known for its brilliant water in too many shades to count, an array of sea life for divers to explore, and the shape-shifting Mount Otemanu, which looks completely different from every angle.

Beyond the addition of Bora Bora, guests aboard Zaandam will now experience an overnight call in Suva, the capital of Fiji. Guests will be able to experience excursions like a longboat tour through Fiji’s tropical rainforest, visit the famous Nausori farmers market or head to the Fiji Museum and Thurston Gardens to get a taste of the city’s vibrant culture.

Additional overnights include Honolulu, Hawaii, and Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia.

What is a ‘Legendary Voyage’?

These lengthier cruises, which range from 25 to 59 days, combine the ceremony of Holland America Line’s Grand Voyages while focusing on a singular region. They visit some of the most interesting ports while offering guests extended exploration opportunities. Shipboard programming is specially curated to share insights into the history and culture of the destinations visited. Guests enjoy the “best of” Grand Voyages programming such as theme parties, memorable sailaways and classic cruise activities.

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Expands Operations With Addition of Two New Vessels
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIND; the "Company" or "Lindblad Expeditions"), recognized global leader of adventure travel and the pioneer of modern expedition cruising, today announced that it has added two purpose-built Galápagos expedition vessels to join the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet.

"We recognize and appreciate the immense privilege our Company has to operate and grow our expedition cruise offerings in the Galápagos Islands," said Sven-Olof Lindblad, Founder and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. "By sourcing well-appointed vessels and onboarding the most experienced crew and staff who meet our exacting standards of responsible exploration, we're able to transport guests from around the world to the iconic archipelago and help them understand the importance of protecting and preserving its wonders and wildlife, as a consequence of their personal experience."

He continued: "When my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, led the first international citizen expedition to the Galápagos nearly 60 years ago, I don't think he ever could have dreamed it would serve as the foundation for ecotourism in the archipelago and would be the catalyst for meaningful, positively impactful connections. We look forward to not only bringing more Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests to the islands with the growth of our fleet, but also to having a greater positive social impact supporting conservation, education and the creation of livelihoods."

Later this month, bookings will open for sale and the names of the two ships will be revealed. The first of the two new ships (formerly Celebrity Xpedition) is a 48-guest configuration and features two unique dining venues and 24 outward-facing cabins, including 13 balcony suites. Even more intimate, the second vessel (formerly Celebrity Xploration) is a 16-guest, eight-cabin catamaran perfect for family vacations, affinity groups, and private charters.

Following the closing of the transaction in January 2025, the ships will undergo multi-million-dollar revitalizations. Once complete, the ships will embody the spirit of adventure and extreme comfort, both synonymous with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, and will celebrate the Company's deep connection to the islands, Ecuador, and its people.

"For decades, Lindblad Expeditions has set the standards for sustainable tourism in Galápagos and been an extraordinary friend and supporter to the Charles Darwin Foundation and the greater conservation community in the islands," said Rakan Zahawi, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation. "Together with community leaders, farmers, scientists and researchers, as well as Ecuadorians from Galápagos and the continent, Lindblad Expeditions has helped to uplift local communities and safeguard the archipelago's precious species and habitats. We are grateful for their continued commitment to protecting, promoting, and preserving our home, while showcasing its beauty to responsible travelers."

Cunard Reveals 2025 Event Voyages Program
Cunard has unveiled its program of 2025 Event Voyages, taking place across Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria.

Event Voyages feature experts from the worlds of arts, gastronomy, wine and entertainment, with performances, Q&As, and hands-on workshops on offer.

The luxury cruise line will offer seven itineraries, ranging from five to 11 nights, beginning in February 2025. These comprise:

Great Australian Culinary Voyage, Queen Elizabeth

Features some of Australia's most successful chefs, producers and food critics, as well as a special three-course dinner for the Britannia and Grills Restaurants and bespoke culinary shore experience in Hobart. Departing February 6, 2025. Prices start from $1333 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Film Festival at Sea, Queen Mary 2

A seven-night cruise, in partnership with the British Film Institute, includes a curated schedule of activities and events such as screenings, conversations with industry icons, quizzes, and Q&A sessions. Departing March 8, 2025. Prices start from $1193 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

185th Cunard Anniversary Sailing, Queen Mary 2

A seven-night itinerary that will celebrate Cunard's history with insights from maritime historians and a commemorative dinner. Departing June 24, 2025. Prices start from $1651 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Dance the Atlantic, Queen Mary 2

A seven-night transatlantic cruise celebrating the world of dance. Six leading dancers from the English National Ballet will join guests on board, with performances from classic and contemporary ballets in the Royal Court Theatre. Departing August 8, 2025. Prices from $1854 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Anthony Inglis and the National Symphony Orchestra, Queen Mary 2

Guests on this seven-night cruise will be immersed in the world of classical music, brought on board by Anthony Inglis, conducting the UK's National Symphony Orchestra. Departing September 3, 2025. Prices start from $1397 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Voyage du Vin, Queen Victoria

An 11-night voyage, in partnership with Corney & Barrow, one of the UK's oldest independent wine merchants, which will feature talks, tastings and events with leading connoisseurs and industry experts. Departing October 13, 2025. Prices start from $1142 per person based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Literature Festival at Sea, Queen Mary 2

This seven-night itinerary will include a program of events curated by The Times and The Sunday Times, and the Cheltenham Literature Festival, with special guests such as journalist and broadcaster Sophie Raworth, and writer and broadcaster Richard Coles. Departing December 8, 2025. Prices start from $1142 based on two sharing a Britannia Balcony stateroom.

Princess Cruises Named Official Cruise Line Partner of the ?Academy of Country Music
Princess Cruises, the world’s most iconic cruise brand, today was named as the exclusive cruise line partner for the famed Academy of Country Music (ACM). Kicking off May 16 at the 59th ACM Awards Show hosted by Reba McEntire, Princess celebrated Country Music’s Party of the Year at the ACM Awards red carpet, interviewing artists and nominees live from the Princess Stage.

As part of this groundbreaking partnership, Princess Cruises will be the presenting sponsor for the recently introduced “ACM Live from the Red Barrel Lounge” series taking place at the Academy’s Headquarters in Nashville this summer, featuring exclusive performances introducing viewers to new and emerging country artists. The collaboration will feature special performances by some of the talented artists from the Red Barrel Lounge, welcoming them onboard select future Princess voyages.

“Princess is incredibly proud to partner with the ACM and to showcase the next big country stars,” said John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises. “Country music has a special place in the hearts of many of our guests, and this partnership allows us to bring unparalleled experiences onboard to combine that love for cruising and country music in a unique and memorable way."

In addition, Princess will be on site supporting the ACM Honors in August, celebrating special award honorees, off-camera category winners and the ACM Industry and Studio Recording Awards.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1964, and still the longest-running Country Music awards show, the ACM made history in 2022 as the first major award ceremony to exclusively livestream on Amazon Prime. The ACM has grown from a regional Southern California trade organization to a national powerhouse with its sights set on a higher purpose – improving lives by connecting fans, artists, and the industry. Today, the ACM is dedicated more than ever to promoting new artists, artists on the rise and established superstars, while supporting the good work of charitable causes nationwide through ACM Lifting Lives.

Since the first cruise from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera in 1965, Princess Cruises has become the most iconic cruise brand in the world, from its co-starring role as the setting of the beloved “Love Boat” television series to now sailing 16 luxurious and innovative cruise ships to 330 global destinations, captivating the hearts of travelers worldwide.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.53 + 3.25%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 155.40 + 2.93%
Viking Holdings Ltd (VIK) 31.58 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.58 + 2.27%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which shipping line was the first to have a three-ship transatlantic service in operation, and what was the name of the third ship to join the first two?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?.

Answer - The ss Queen of Bermuda is the only cruise ship to have sailed with 1, 2, or 3 funnels over her career. Built with 3 funnels, down to 2 funnels during WWII, back to 3 funnels postwar then to 1 funnel during an early 60s refit to make her look more like her newer running mate the Ocean Monarch. courtesy of Larry P Macdonald


Cruise News - June 3, 2024

Carnival Announces Plans to Absorb P&O Cruises Australia into Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, today announced that in March 2025, the company will sunset the P&O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, the most popular cruise line in the world.

This change is the latest in a series of strategic moves designed to increase guest capacity for Carnival Cruise Line, the company's flagship brand and the highest-returning brand in Carnival Corporation's global portfolio. This will result in the addition of eight new ships to Carnival Cruise Line's fleet since 2021, including the successful shift of three vessels from sister brand Costa Cruises. In addition, the company recently placed its first new ship order in half a decade for two new Excel-class cruise ships to join Carnival Cruise Line in 2027 and 2028.

"Despite increasing Carnival Cruise Line's capacity by almost 25% since 2019 including transferring three ships from Costa Cruises, guest demand remains incredibly strong so we're leveraging our scale in an even more meaningful way by absorbing an entire brand into the world's most popular cruise line," said Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc. "In 2019, Carnival Cruise Line was 29% of our total capacity, and when we complete this move early next year, Carnival Cruise Line – our highest-returning brand – will make up approximately 35% of our total global capacity. While our company's overall growth between 2019 – 2028 is projected to be less than 2% (CAGR), the majority will be for Carnival Cruise Line, which will grow by approximately 50% over that time period."

In addition to further optimizing the composition of Carnival Corporation's global brand portfolio, the realignment will strengthen the company's performance in the South Pacific through numerous operational efficiencies.

"P&O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region," said Weinstein. "However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific's small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we're adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region. Carnival Corporation & plc remains committed to Australia and we will continue to be the largest cruise operator in the region with 19 ships calling on 78 destinations and representing almost 60% of the market."

Building on Shared Legacy in the Region

As the P&O Cruises Australia brand retires early next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will be rebranded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line brand. Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February of 2025. Current itineraries will operate business as usual, and guests will be notified in the coming days of any changes to future bookings as a result of this announcement.

When the transition is complete next year, Carnival Cruise Line – which has served the South Pacific since 2013 – will have four ships in the market, including Sydney-based Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa sailing seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sister ships Encounter and Adventure.

"We look forward to building on the history and heritage of P&O Cruises Australia by bringing some of our innovations to more cruise guests in the region," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "While we plan to make some technology upgrades and other small changes to the two P&O Cruises Australia ships, they will continue to be geared to the unique Australian market with a familiar feel and much of the same experiences for P&O Cruises Australia guests. The most notable change will be the availability of our popular HubApp, enabling guests to make online dining and excursion reservations, request food and beverage delivery, and chat with other guests, among other features. P&O Cruises Australia guests will also be invited to participate in Carnival's loyalty program and promotional offerings specific to Carnival ships sailing in the region."

"Over the coming months, we will find ways to celebrate and honor P&O Cruises Australia – a valued part of our legacy and an important contributor to the tourism industry in the South Pacific," said Weinstein. "We value the connection our P&O Cruises Australia guests, employees, travel advisor partners, public officials and destinations have with our company and are committed to building on this association moving forward as Carnival."

This announcement does not impact P&O Cruises (UK), which is a separate Carnival Corporation & plc brand based in England and dedicated to the UK market.

Cunard Names City of Liverpool as Godparent of Queen Anne
Cunard is excited to announce the City of Liverpool as Godparent of its newest ship Queen Anne in recognition of the long-lasting bond with its spiritual home.

Liverpool was the birthplace of Cunard with its first transatlantic crossing departing 184 years ago in July 1840, and it was the company's headquarters for 128 years. The love and affection the people of Liverpool still have for all things Cunard is clear – never more so than when a Cunard ship arrives on the Mersey.

This is highlighted by two of the largest crowds ever to gather for a maritime event – a million people for QE2 in 1990 and over a million for the Three Queens Salute in 2015. This was also the year when Cunard was awarded the honor of The Freedom of the City.

On behalf of the City of Liverpool, the luxury cruise line has selected five distinguished Liverpool icons* to represent the city and officially name Queen Anne.

These distinguished women, who embody the heart and future of Liverpool, just as Queen Anne does for Cunard, have been chosen for their significant contributions to culture at a local, national or international level.

All proud Liverpudlians, they are Spice Girl and author Melanie C, broadcaster and community leader Ngunan Adamu, local restaurant entrepreneur Natalie Haywood, Liverpool music and cultural legend Jayne Casey, and British Olympian heptathlon athlete Katarina Johnson-Thomson.

Queen Anne Naming Ceremony

Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather along the waterfront to witness the time-honored naming ceremony, a tradition believed to bestow good fortune upon the new vessel.

The proceedings will open with a performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra before event hosts, Matt and Emma Willis, take to the stage to oversee the ceremony.

The icons will join Cunard President, Katie McAlister, and Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge for a special naming ceremony, where they will officially introduce the most beautiful ship at sea to its spiritual home, continuing the seafaring tradition by smashing a bottle of champagne against the 249th ship to carry the Cunard name.

Formal proceedings will conclude with a stunning performance by operatic superstar Andrea Bocelli, including his iconic song 'Time to Say Goodbye'.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "Liverpool is the spiritual home of Cunard, and we are therefore delighted and feel it very fitting that the City of Liverpool is the godparent to Queen Anne. It is a testament to the enduring relationship that connects Cunard and the city in which it was founded to the present day when we officially named our new ship on the Liverpool Waterfront, in front of the Cunard Building. We are equally delighted to have our five chosen Liverpool icons represent the city in the ceremony. All remarkable in their own right, they have inspired generations and collectively capture the essence of the city that has shaped global culture."

Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council said: "It's an incredible honour for the City of Liverpool to be chosen as the Godparent of Queen Anne. This city shares a treasured bond with Cunard dating back to 1839 when we were the original home of the world-famous line. The naming ceremony was a magnificent showpiece that once again cast Liverpool into the limelight, and we are so proud to be forever entwined with Queen Anne as she sails the world. We will always cherish our long-standing relationship with Cunard."

Royal Caribbean Group Introduces Loyalty Status Match Program Across Its Brands
Royal Caribbean Group announced today that loyalty members from its three wholly-owned brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea – will attain equivalent tier status on any one of its brands. This shared status adds to members' existing benefits and unlocks new ways to see the world, with more than 50 incredible ships sailing to nearly 1,000 destinations across all seven continents.

Now, loyalty members have another reason to experience all Royal Caribbean Group has to offer, with a product to meet them for each of life's moments. As the first major cruise company to offer loyalty status matching across its core brands, the Royal Caribbean Group Loyalty Status Match program allows members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club and Silversea's Venetian Society to enjoy reciprocal tier status no matter which brand they sail with.

Royal Caribbean Group's industry-leading portfolio offers everything one could want in a vacation, including land-based vacation experiences through Perfect Day at CocoCay and Royal Beach Club collection, and its cruise brands Royal Caribbean International delivering thrilling vacations for the multi-generational and contemporary market, Celebrity Cruises elevating premium travel, and Silversea offering the finest ultra-luxury and expedition experiences.

"We strive to provide guests with experiences within our portfolio of brands that meet them for all of life's moments," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Each of our differentiated brands have passionate fans who take pride in the status they've achieved through repeat sailings. In a first for the cruise industry, our new Loyalty Status Match program rewards guests traveling across our brands, and this is one more step in our journey of transforming a vacation of a lifetime into a lifetime of vacations."

The new program is part of Royal Caribbean Group's ongoing commitment to deliver the best vacations responsibly. By aligning its three industry-leading brands and recognizing guest loyalty across the fleet, the Loyalty Status Match program aims to provide an unparalleled vacation experience that rewards guests. Program highlights include:

1. Seamless Status Recognition: Members of Crown & Anchor Society, Captain's Club and Venetian Society are now eligible to receive one-for-one status match across all three brands after enrolling in each program.
2. Onboard Benefits: When sailing on each sister brand, guests can enjoy the onboard benefits offered by each brand for their equivalent tier status.
3. Effortless Tier Matching: Guests already enrolled in multiple loyalty programs will be automatically matched across brands within 7 days to ensure guests receive their appropriate loyalty status.
4. Enhanced Travel Experience: Status match enables guests to select from a broader and more diverse range of vacation experiences and destinations.

Now, loyalty members can be status matched for upcoming travel on a sister brand. For example, a Venetian Society member with 250 VS Days and an upcoming sailing on Celebrity Cruises can enroll in Captain's Club, which would give them Elite status once their loyalty accounts are connected.

The applicable terms and conditions are also changing to make clear how member data will be shared across the various loyalty programs and highlight other important legal terms. Please refer to the updated loyalty program terms and conditions for full details. Loyalty Status Match program terms also apply.

New benefits onboard for members who have their status matched will begin with sailings departing on June 5, 2024.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander Launches with Power Knot Food Waste Biodigesters
Power Knot Ocean, the market leader for onsite organic waste management solutions in the marine environment, announced today the successful deployment of multiple units of the LFC biodigester aboard cruise ship Margaritaville at Sea Islander.

The Margaritaville at Sea Islander is a Spirit-class cruise ship known for its vibrant atmosphere and top-notch amenities. The ship provides a unique blend of relaxation and adventure, featuring multiple dining options, entertainment venues, and luxurious accommodations. As part of its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, the Margaritaville at Sea Islander has recently implemented cutting-edge waste management solutions to minimize its ecological footprint.

The LFC biodigester is a food waste biodigester that uses natural aerobic digestion to break down food waste into water, mitigating the need for traditional disposal methods and contributing to a substantial reduction in both cost and environmental impact. The biodigester units are strategically placed in key areas of the ship such as a galley or garbage room where food waste is processed or handled to improve operations. With nine different sizes available, accommodating the digestion of 10 kg (20 lb) to 6000 kg (13200 lb) of food waste per day, the LFC biodigester provides a versatile and effective approach to waste reduction.

"The deployment of the LFC biodigesters aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Islander marks a significant step forward in our mission to protect the oceans. By converting food waste into water through natural aerobic digestion, our biodigesters drastically reduce the volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or be disposed of at sea," said Iain Milnes, President of Power Knot. "This not only helps in lowering operational costs but also ensures that cruise ships like the Margaritaville at Sea Islander can operate more sustainably, preserving the Ocean for future generations."

Royal Caribbean Announces New, 2025-26 Holidays From Singapore
Royal Caribbean International’s set the stage for a standout 2025-2026 season in Singapore, and the headliner is the action-packed Ovation of the Seas. Between October 2025 and March 2026, the fan favourite Quantum Class ship will have in store a line-up of experiences that make for a memorable holiday for every type of traveller as they visit awe-inspiring destinations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and more on 3- to 8-night holidays.

With their pick of 3- and 4-night getaways, travellers of all ages will enjoy a taste of the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia, from indulging in renowned street food in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage Site George Town in Penang, Malaysia, to kicking back on the sandy beaches of Phuket, Thailand. Holidaymakers can also enjoy more time on holiday with longer adventures, such as a 5-night cruise that features a night in Phuket to explore the ever-popular night markets and an 8-night escape to Bali to indulge in culture and adventure while roaming the waterfalls and temples of Celukan Bawang in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.

“Ovation is a ship packed full of adventure, and with the new season’s line-up of holidays, friends and families can choose to holiday their way between short getaways to Penang and Phuket and longer sailings to Indonesia or with nights out in Phuket,” said Angie Stephen, senior vice president, International, Royal Caribbean International. “Singapore is the gateway to explore many of Asia’s most loved destinations, and it’s the combination of all the region has to offer and the unparalleled Royal Caribbean experiences that has made Southeast Asia a central part of tens of thousands of memorable holidays over the course of 15-plus years. And that will only continue for years to come.”

Friends and families can make the most of their getaway in more ways than one while on Ovation, whether their sights are set on thrill, chill, family time, time on their own or all the above. To take adrenaline to an all-time high, there is the deck-defying North Star – a 360-degree glass observation capsule with views 300 feet above sea level – and the signature RipCord by iFly skydiving experience. The list goes on with the FlowRider surf simulator, the rock climbing wall and bumper cars, a full-size sports court, roller-skating and more at SeaPlex – the largest indoor activity complex at sea.

Holidaymakers can refuel with more than 20 ways to dine and a variety of cuisines, from laidback bites at SeaPlex Dog House and Sorrento’s Pizza to signature favourites like Wonderland’s imaginative cuisine, sushi and sashimi at Izumi and casual seafood at Fish & Ships. Once the sun goes down, live entertainment turns up the energy at cutting-edge venues like the transformational Two70 – featuring jaw-dropping shows that weave aerialists and robots into showstopping performances – and more.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.01 + 5.82%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 150.97 + 1.71%
Viking Holdings Ltd (VIK) 31.58 + 6.40%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.19 + 7.44%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Today it's common place, but which was the first cruise ship to be enlarged by having an 85 foot mid-section inserted? As a result of this surgery, her capacity increased from 876 to over 1,200.

Answer - RCCL's the Song of Norway in 1978. courtesy of Stephen Maze of Calgary,Canada


Cruise News - May 27, 2024

Andrea Bocelli to take Center Stage at Cunard Queen Anne Naming Ceremony in Liverpool
The Liverpool Waterfront will be the setting for an unforgettable celebration on June 3, as iconic Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli joins a stellar line-up of performers to celebrate Queen Anne's maiden call to its spiritual home.

Bocelli will be joined by an impressive line-up of Liverpool's finest talent, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and performers from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, for a special naming ceremony hosted by musician Matt Willis and his wife, TV presenter Emma Willis.

The celebrity hosts will be joined on stage by special guests and the official Godparent for the naming of Queen Anne, a moment that is signified by the traditional smashing of a bottle of Champagne against the 249th ship to carry the Cunard name. The event will draw to a close with a performance from operatic superstar Andrea Bocelli.

The celebrations will then continue with additional performances from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and DJ Lauren Lo Sung. The festivities will then shift to a lively funk and soul set by Craig Charles, ensuring the celebration continues until the grand finale, when Queen Anne departs with a backdrop of dazzling fireworks.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said, "Liverpool is known the world over as Cunard's spiritual home, and we are thrilled to announce Maestro Bocelli as part of our incredible line-up of talented artists and performers for this special event. This celebration is a tribute to our rich history and a testament to the enduring bond between Cunard and the city of Liverpool. We look forward to honoring this legacy with a celebration of unforgettable performances that reflect the spirit and vibrancy of both our company and this magnificent city."

Bocelli comments, "It's an honour to be performing in Liverpool, for the Official Naming Ceremony of Queen Anne. This event promises to be a beautiful celebration of artistry and craftsmanship, which perfectly captures spirit and elegance of Cunard's new ship. To be taking part in such a historic occasion, in a city rich in cultural heritage, truly brings me great joy."

The celebrations are expected to draw thousands of attendees, marking another significant moment in the history of Cunard ships. In previous years, Cunard ships have drawn over a million spectators to the Mersey's banks, notably for the QE2's maiden call in July 1990 and the 2015 Three Queens 'royal rendezvous' celebrating Cunard's 175th anniversary. This is an event that will be remembered for years to come, adding to the rich tapestry of Liverpool's history.

Oceania Cruises' Marina Returns to Service After Extensive Refurbishment
Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, has welcomed its 1,250-guest ship, Marina, back into service after undergoing an all-encompassing refurbishment, which includes the addition of three new dining options. Guests aboard Marina can now enjoy the culinary delights of Aquamar Kitchen, the new wellness-focused dining venue, which debuted to great acclaim on Vista last year; a poolside ice cream parlor serving milkshakes and smoothies; and a new al fresco Pizzeria offering sumptuous Italian dishes.

Marina is the most recent of Oceania Cruises' current fleet to be refurbished, which means that the line boasts eight new, or better-than-new, ships. Its eighth ship, Allura, is set to set sail in July 2025.

"Marina is the first – the original – ship designed by foodies, built by foodies, for foodies," said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "We are renowned for serving The Finest Cuisine at Sea, and this is not just a tagline, it is a mantra which we have built the business around. Food is the foundation of what we do on board each of our ships, and globally, in the destinations we visit.

"The addition of these three relaxed, yet refined, eateries to Marina is the perfect way to spotlight that The Finest Cuisine at Sea does not always mean a white linen tablecloth and starched napkins at one of our award-winning specialty restaurants. It's also a perfectly prepared pizza, accompanied by a chilled glass of white wine enjoyed on deck, as you set sail with a warm breeze around your shoulders; or a decadent poolside ice cream or flavorful smoothie as you relax on your sun lounger."

Oceania Cruises' newly appointed Executive Culinary Directors, Chefs Alexis Quaretti and Eric Barale, and their talented team are taking a fresh look at menus across all venues on all ships.

Chef Alex commented: "The introduction of these three wonderful culinary venues on board Marina is just the start of an exciting new taste journey for Oceania Cruises. Of course, there is an incredible amount of work going on to prepare for the arrival of Allura next summer, but we have so much going on aboard all our beautiful ships. Eric and I are looking at every menu and every dish we serve, as you'll see with the return of Marina.

"The ethos behind The Finest Cuisine at Sea is at the heart of everything we do; it all starts with the best ingredients, the best team and a precise plan as to how each mouthful should taste – regardless of whether it's a lunchtime burger at Waves Grill or an extravagant souffle in The Grand Dining Room. We have so much to talk about, I cannot wait to share more in the coming weeks and months."

Overview of Marina's all-encompassing refurbishment:

• Aquamar Kitchen, a new Oceania Cruises signature restaurant, which debuted on Vista, presents wellness-inspired menus, with a hint of indulgence, sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. At breakfast, the smoothies, cold-pressed juices and energy bowls shine; while at lunch, guests can enjoy avocado toast selections and globally inspired salads and wraps. Heartier options include an Impossible™ burger, yellowfin tuna tacos and a crunchy chicken sandwich among several others. Its beverage menu features a selection of premium, award-winning non-alcoholic wines, Pierre Zero from France, as well as a refreshing collection of mocktails crafted with Lyre's non-alcoholic spirits. Aquamar Kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch and does not require reservations, and as with all other onboard restaurants, is complimentary for guests.

• In the evening, Waves Grill transforms into an al fresco Pizzeria featuring freshly made pizzas, succulently grilled Italian specialties, tantalizing salads, rosemary focaccia with lush burrata and indulgent desserts, including a Nutella pizza.

• An all-day ice cream parlor has been added to the pool deck. The new addition is filled with favorite flavors, including options from award-winning artisan ice cream company Humphry Slocombe, plus milkshakes and smoothies.

• The 124 Penthouse Suites are completely re-inspired, with custom-crafted furniture as well as new closets and cabinetry to increase guest storage space, plus new carpets and upholstery, updated modern lighting and thoughtful details such as more outlets and USB ports. Each Penthouse Suite has a sleek restyled bathroom, with distinctive Italian marble throughout, abundant drawer space, and generous oversized showers, offering the elegant residential luxury for which Oceania Cruises is renowned.

• Favorite public spaces including Martinis, Horizons, The Grand Dining Room and Library have been elegantly updated with plush new carpets and refreshed upholstery; and specialty steakhouse Polo Grill boasts a fresh new look with new carpeting, stylish window treatments and sleek, pillowed-leather dining chairs.

• Due to the addition of Aquamar Kitchen, Oceania Cruises' signature pairing dinners featured in La Reserve will now be showcased in Privée, Marina's glamorous and exclusive private dining venue.

The Suite Life: Celebrity Cruises Elevates 'the Retreat' Experience
Celebrity Cruises takes the suite life to new heights with new premium and personalized enhancements for The Retreat, providing the most elevated experience at sea. Offering more perks and amenities than ever before, The Retreat isn't just a suite. It's the most elevated experience at sea, period.

"At The Retreat, the world really does revolve around our guests," said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. "We collected extensive feedback from past guests, loyalty members and our trade partners to inform how The Retreat experiences are being reimagined to continue exceeding vacation expectations by delivering on the amenities and experiences Celebrity Cruises guests value most."

Ensuring guests don't have to lift a finger while on vacation, all suites at The Retreat come with a dedicated butler, who is now just a message away with Butler Chat, allowing for faster and easier one-on-one communication from anywhere on board or onshore. A dedicated shore excursions expert, The Retreat Destination Experience Specialist, is now available for guests of The Retreat to make the most of their time on shore, from planning destination-related activities, to ensuring smooth transfers when discovering Celebrity's most sought-after ports of call. Additionally, guests can relax prior to excursions from the comfort of The Retreat Lounge and will enjoy suite-to-car butler escorts for Private Journeys excursions.

Culinary enhancements have been added to the offerings at Luminae, the exclusive suites-only restaurant, including new Daniel Boulud Signature dishes and a new rotating dinner and dessert menu. In-suite, guests can enjoy personalized daily delights, selected from the in-suite dining menu, as well as a complimentary stocked minibar.

To ensure they always have the best view in house, guests of The Retreat will enjoy reserved seating in The Theatre. Plus, guests staying in Royal Suites and above will always look their best thanks to complimentary laundry service including unlimited pressing.

In addition to the new offerings, guests of The Retreat will enjoy:

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner from the comfort of their suite, selected from the in-suite dining menu, available daily.

• Award-Winning Wine Portfolio of red, white, and bubbly wines representing vineyards from around the world served complimentary in The Retreat Lounge, Luminae and in-suite.

• Express Priority Luggage Drop Off and Delivery on embarkation.

• Guests staying in Royal Suites and above will also have access to:

• Complimentary Extend Your Stay providing the flexibility of staying onboard longer on disembarkation day in selected ports**. Guests can conveniently store their luggage, access public areas, use Wi-Fi and drink packages, enjoy lunch, and relax before their departure.

• Complimentary SEA Thermal Suite access on Edge Series ships and the Persian Garden on Millennium and Solstice Series ships.

• Complimentary Unlimited Specialty Dining, including lunch and dinner.

• Ability to customize their in-suite minibar experience before sailing.

• Two complimentary bottles of wine or spirits throughout their sailing.

• Exclusive complimentary sleepwear.

Boasting expansive views and stunning designs, The Retreat offers guests the chance to unwind in their individual suite, on an exclusive sundeck or in a private lounge, all designed to make them feel like they have the ship to themselves. This exclusive experience begins even prior to guests stepping foot on board with the pre-cruise concierge, priority check-in and departure, and priority port tendering at available ports of call.

Carnival Radiance Rescues 25 People Stranded at Sea
Carnival Radiance’s team responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and rescued 25 people who were stranded aboard a small boat off the Pacific coast of Mexico on Saturday.

Carnival Radiance was sailing toward Ensenada, Mexico on Saturday afternoon when the Coast Guard informed the officers on board about a distress call involving a small vessel.

The ship was immediately routed toward the location provided by the USCG and the rescue was quickly completed, with all 25 people, including three children, stranded on the boat safely welcomed onto Carnival Radiance.

The team on board offered to meet any immediate needs among the rescued group, including food, water and medical assistance, and coordinated a rendezvous with Coast Guard officials.

Carnival Radiance left its homeport of Long Beach, Calif. on Friday for a three-day cruise, and its sailing remains on schedule.v

Queen Mary 2 Arrives in New York City with the Eternal Flame Honoring the 80th Anniversary of D-Day
Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2 arrived today in New York carrying the Eternal Flame after a seven-day North Atlantic Crossing. Following the ship's arrival, a commemorative ceremony was held onboard Queen Mary 2 by the Consulate General of France, La Flamme de la Liberté, and Cunard honoring the WWII Normandy Landings of 1944 and marking the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

In a ceremony marking the arrival of the Eternal Flame in New York to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Shown left to right: Queen Mary 2 Captain Andrew Hall; Young French representative Lou Bordet-Guillou and Hervé Racat from La Flamme de la Liberté; General Patton’s granddaughter Helen Ayer-Patton; Commissioner for International Affairs, City of New York, Edward Mermelstein; and French Ambassador to the U.S. Laurent Bili.

Those in attendance included Mr. Laurent Bili, Ambassador of France to the United States; Mr. Damien Laban, Acting Consul General of France in New York; Mr. Edward Mermelstein, Commissioner for International Affairs, City of New York; Queen Mary 2 Captain Andrew Hall; General Patton's granddaughter, Helen Ayer-Patton; and WWII veterans from The Greatest Generations Foundation.

The Eternal Flame, which has been burning since November 11, 1923, on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, was collected on May 8. From there, a group of 12 young French ambassadors carried the flame from Paris to Cherbourg where it crossed the English Channel to Portsmouth, a key embarkation port for the Normandy Invasion. Thereafter the flame proceeded the short distance to Southampton where it boarded Queen Mary 2 to cross the Atlantic and arrive in New York. The ambassadors will escort the flame to Arlington Cemetery to lay it down at an official ceremony on May 24, and let it burn until June 6, 2024.

Queen Mary 2 Captain Andrew Hall said: "We are honored that our flagship Queen Mary 2 was part of this historic occasion honoring the men and women who served in D-Day, and the many hundreds of thousands of whom were brought over the Atlantic on Cunard ships. Today will truly be remembered as an important part of Cunard's long and storied history."

Princess Cruises Announces Extended 2025-26 Japan & Southeast Asia Cruise Season
On the heels of record-breaking travel to Japan by U.S. visitors in 2023, and another strong season underway this year, Princess Cruises today announced it will extend the number of itineraries in Japan during the 2025-26 season.

The 2025-26 cruise season to the must-see island nations of Japan and Southeast Asia onboard a Princess ship has just been announced. On sale now, Japan-built Diamond Princess returns featuring an expanded Japan season showcasing the region's breathtaking fall foliage, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and more.

"We truly make it easy to travel to Japan and Southeast Asia on our Diamond Princess Love Boat to experience these amazing destinations," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer for Princess Cruises. "For our fall 2025 through winter 2026 season, we're thrilled to expand our Japan cruises from Tokyo (Yokohama) during the beautiful fall foliage season and continue to Singapore to highlight the best of Southeast Asia. Plus, our guests only need to unpack once to experience these storied countries while enjoying vibrant shore excursions and our regional culinary and entertainment offerings onboard."

From ancient temples and castles, to bustling markets and breathtaking gardens, cruisers experience the best way to see Japan with Princess with a new fall 2025 season offering 11 new voyages ranging in length from nine to 22 days, visiting 25 destinations throughout the Land of the Rising Sun, as well as stops in Korea and Taiwan. Highlights of the season include:

• 13-day Circle Japan Fall Foliage sailing taking place during the beautiful autumn leaves season

• 9-day Circle Japan voyage a circumnavigation of the country with stops at Nagasaki, Akita and Sakaiminato

• 9-day Southern Islands departures to the southernmost part of Japan and the lush islands of Okinawa and Ishigaki

• 10-day Kyushu & Korea cruise, which sails these large islands of Japan including visits to Hiroshima, Osaka (for Kyoto) and Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji)

For the ultimate Japan exploration, guests can combine these 18- to 22- day itineraries for an unforgettable 40-day adventure Following her extended Japan season, Diamond Princess will sail to Singapore on a 12-day Southeast Asia & Japan cruise featuring Taipei (Keelung) and Hong Kong to kick off three roundtrip Singapore sailings including:

• 14-day Malaysia, Thailand & Vietnam cruise, which also includes calls to Phuket, Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My)

• 16-day Malaysia, Thailand & Vietnam departure which also includes a call to Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a gateway to Hanoi

• Closing the season will be a 14-day Southeast Asia & Japan sailing from Singapore back to Tokyo (Yokohama) with late night More Ashore stays in both Hong Kong and Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji)

Built in Japan, the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess offers a unique experience tailored to the region. Guests enjoy authentic cuisine at Kai Sushi, sip Japanese-inspired cocktails created by mixologist Rob Floyd, soak in the traditional Izumi bath and enjoy folkloric shows, regional entertainment and Japanese holiday celebrations.

Additionally, the all-new Churrascaria Brazilian Grill offers quality meats boasting bold South American flavors, cooked to perfection in the tasty tradition of grilling churrasco style. Servers present these flavorful cuts on vertical skewers, and hand-carve them right onto the plate.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.13 - 5.97%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 148.43 + 0.49%
Viking Holdings Ltd (VIK) 29.68 - 0.44%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.00 - 5.55%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Today it's common place, but which was the first cruise ship to be enlarged by having an 85 foot mid-section inserted? As a result of this surgery, her capacity increased from 876 to over 1,200.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Originally, the term "stateroom" referred to the better-quality lodging available aboard riverboats plying the rivers of the early United States; these rooms were named after various states of the Union. courtesy of Manuella Flynn


Cruise News - May 20, 2024

Oceania Cruises To Bring Newest Ship Allura to Service Early
Oceania Cruises today announced its newest ship Allura will enter service one week earlier than scheduled. Due to join the fleet in summer 2025, her inaugural sailing will now depart Trieste, Italy, on July 18, 2025, cruising six days to Athens, Greece, calling at gems in the Eastern Mediterranean including Rijeka, Croatia; Ravenna, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Kotor, Montenegro. The line is also opening for sale a one-of-a-kind four day voyage sailing roundtrip from New York City in September 2025.

For guests booked on the original inaugural voyage departing July 24, 2025, Oceania Cruises has offered first access to booking the new maiden sailing before it went on public sale.

Following her summer season in the Mediterranean, Allura will sail to Canada and New England for a series of immersive voyages in North America before her premiere winter season in the Caribbean, homeporting in Miami. For new-to-brand travelers who are curious to sample an ultra-premium vacation experience, the line has introduced a four-day "Taste of Oceania Cruises" roundtrip sailing from New York September 30 - October 4, 2025.

"Thanks to the progress made by our valued partners at Fincantieri, we are thrilled to bring Allura into service a week earlier than planned," said Frank A. Del Rio, President, Oceania Cruises. "I'm excited to be able to present Allura on a one-time taster voyage to showcase the ship to aspirational travelers who are looking to sample an ultra-premium cruise experience, and even better, sailing from downtown Manhattan, the heart of New York City."

Oceania Cruises' newly appointed Executive Culinary Directors, Chefs Alexis Quaretti and Eric Barale, are working with the line's talented team to take a fresh look at menus across all venues on board Allura, with a special focus on designing an array of delectable treats for the new Crêperie – a first for the brand.

"Oceania Cruises is a cruise line founded by foodies, for foodies, and food is at the heart of everything we do," said Chef Alex. "The team and I are busy testing and tasting a wonderful array of waffles and crêpes, which will be enjoyed by our guests next year aboard Allura. Our guests will be able to customize their waffles and crêpes, which will all be made to order, to be perfectly personalized.

"We have lots of exciting culinary developments underway for Allura, including more than 300 new recipes in active development for The Grand Dining Room, across all three meal services. I am excited to reveal more in the coming months."

Allura is the eighth vessel for Oceania Cruises and is the line's second 1,200-guest Allura Class ship. She follows her sister ship, Vista, which launched to great global acclaim in May 2023. Allura highlights include:

• A new onboard Crêperie, serving freshly made-to-order crêpes and waffles, as well as sundaes in the afternoon.

• A luxurious new library, featuring walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, oversized chairs and plush residential furnishings, continues the tradition of Oceania Cruises' beloved libraries and is just steps away from LYNC Digital Center, the ship's digital and social hub, as well as ever-popular Horizons.

• One chef for every 10 guests, ensuring 50% of crew members are dedicated to culinary experiences.

• Five specialty dining venues, including the line's newest signature restaurants, Ember and Aquamar Kitchen, at no extra cost.

• 1,200 guests served by 800 crew members = two crew members for every three guests.

• The most spacious standard staterooms at sea, at an astounding 291 square feet.

• Hundreds of immersive shore excursions and tours to choose from on each sailing.

• Onboard enrichment, including art classes at Oceania Cruises' much-loved Artist Loft, numerous guest speakers and sommelier demonstrations during exclusive Sommelier's Choice and Cellar Master's Classic Wine Pairing Luncheons.

• An expansive Culinary Center and accompanying Chef's Studio, where epicurean secrets will be shared by the talented onboard Chef Instructors.

Carnival Cruise Line Returning to Baltimore With Carnival Pride
Carnival Cruise Line expects Carnival Pride to resume sailing from the Port of Baltimore on May 26, continuing the cruise line’s year-round homeport schedule.

Carnival Pride is expected to arrive in Baltimore on May 26, following a week-long cruise that embarked in Norfolk, Va., where Carnival temporarily moved its Baltimore operations after the collapse of the Key Bridge on March 26.

The ship’s next sailing, a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise to Greenland, is expected to sail round-trip from Baltimore. The ship will then continue its previously planned sailings, currently scheduled into the spring of 2026.

“We are extremely grateful to the officials and incredible first responders in Baltimore, who’ve shown great leadership and resolve in this difficult time, as well as our supportive partners in Norfolk, whose rapid response allowed us to continue to deliver our scheduled sailings for our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“It’s been our goal to resume operations in Baltimore as soon as possible, and after working closely with local, state and federal agencies, we look forward to a successful return.”

Celebrity Cruises First-ever Edge Series Alaska Itineraries Set Sail
For the first time ever, Celebrity Edge, the ship that introduced the revolutionary outward-facing design, calls Alaska home for the summer. Today, Celebrity Edge will embark on her maiden sailing roundtrip from Seattle on a seven-night Dawes Glacier itinerary with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. Through its unique outward facing design, Celebrity Edge will offer guests an unmatched immersive experience as they take in the awe-inspiring Alaskan glaciers.

"There's no better way to see the pristine Alaskan wilderness than onboard Celebrity Edge, which was specifically designed to create a closer connection between guests and destinations," said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. "Our elevated vacation options are redefining travel, especially in this region."

From May through September 2024, guests can indulge in the breathtaking views of Alaska from the comfort of an Edge Series ship. The iconic Magic Carpet – the world's first cantilevered, floating platform, at sea – sits on the edge of the ship, creating a new way to dine, drink and connect with the destination, or watch for whales and eagles as you wake up in one of the Infinite Veranda staterooms as the boundaries between inside and outside are erased.

Celebrity Edge will sail roundtrip from Seattle and one-way between Vancouver to Seattle on six- and seven-night journeys. Itineraries include visits to the region's top spots, with experiences in Ketchikan also known as the "Salmon Capital of the World," the Endicott Arm to spot the local wildlife including brown bears, bald eagles, sea ducks, deer, moose, and wolves, Alaska's capital Juneau and Skagway before heading to Victoria through the Inside Passage and then returning to Seattle.

Some of the features guests of Celebrity Edge can indulge in include:

• Transformational accommodations, from modern two-story Edge Villas with plunge pools to staterooms with Infinite Verandas. Blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living, the Infinite Veranda takes you right to the water's edge, giving guests open air access to the sea with the touch of a button.

• The Retreat, exclusive to all suite guests, with its private restaurant, and exclusive lounge and sundeck. In addition, a dedicated team of butlers, attendants, and concierges on-hand 24/7, ensures everything is taken care of while on vacation.

• An unrivalled culinary repertoire of 29 distinct restaurants, bars, and lounges connecting guests to the destinations they will visit like never before. Globally inspired menus crafted by a Michelin-star chef bring the flavors of the world straight to the plate, providing an epicurean journey unmatched at sea.

• Unique spaces unlike anything else at sea, including The Magic Carpet - the world's first cantilevered, floating platform, soaring above the sea - and Eden - three levels of sensory experiences wrapped in glass, both offer a mix of culinary and entertainment options with panoramic views.

• Multi-use, transformative spaces to gather, such as The Grand Plaza offering a majestic, open, three-story venue inspired by the piazzas of Italy and housing incredible specialty restaurants, the popular

• Martini Bar, Cafe al Bacio, and the new Grand Plaza Cafe.

Celebrity's award-winning ships, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Solstice, will offer 57 sailings and an array of six- to seven-night itineraries from May to September 2024.

Community Impact

Celebrity Cruises, as part of Royal Caribbean Group, engages port communities across Alaska through its Sea the Future commitment to sustain the planet, energize communities and accelerate innovation while delivering the best vacations responsibly. Key initiatives include:

• Grand Opening - Ketchikan Salmon Walk: In partnership with the Tongass Historical Museum, the Ketchikan Salmon Walk recently opened this summer, offering vacationers a unique opportunity to delve into the tale of the salmon migration and life cycle in Ketchikan Creek. The nearly two-mile walk is equipped with upgraded lighting and pavement, as well as engaging placards with art by renowned artists like Ray Troll, Nathan Jackson and Marvin Oliver.

• A taste of Alaska through local sourcing: Committed to fostering relationships with Alaska businesses, guests are offered access to a variety of Alaska-owned products, retailers, excursions, and experiences. Established partnerships with Skagway Spirits, Seafood Producers Cooperative and Alaska Specialty Seafood, sourcing fresh seafood and other local items across its brands. These local partnerships highlight the group's dedication to connecting with local cultures and supporting economic vibrancy while creating an authentic Alaska experience for guests.

• Renewed Commitment - Sitka Sound Science Center: The Sitka Sound Science Center's Scientists in the Schools (SIS) program enables local scientists to partner with students in K-12 classrooms to explore science and ecosystems. This initiative aims to foster a passion and appreciation for science and nature among Sitka's youth while creating a meaningful educational experience. The program incorporates classroom visits from scientists into the curriculum at each grade level in Sitka schools, creating a pipeline of scientific experiences during the entire academic career of Sitka's K-12 students. The program benefited 960 students from nine schools last year with the support of the cruise company.

• "Locals Onboard" – Voyij.com Partnership: Over the past three cruising seasons, the partnership with Skagway-based Voyij.com has driven more than $1 million in sales to local businesses in Alaska. The two teamed up in 2021 to help connect ship guests to the online marketplace where Alaska businesses, retailers and artists sell their crafts. More than 250 small businesses and artists across more than 45 communities from all regions of the state are listed on Voyij.com.

Savannah Buffett Named Godmother of Margaritaville at Sea Islander
Margaritaville at Sea has named Savannah Buffett, daughter of the late singer, songwriter, best-selling author, and sailor Jimmy Buffett, as Godmother of its newest ship, Margaritaville at Sea Islander. Debuting in June, the inaugural sailing will take place June 14 on a 4-night itinerary from Port Tampa Bay, featuring a stop in Cozumel, Mexico and two fun-filled sea days.

"I'm beyond excited to be named Godmother of Margaritaville at Sea Islander and look forward to rendering the right concoction of love and luck so she may plow the seas amidst smooth, untroubled waters in search of that one particular harbor," exclaimed Savannah Buffett. "As a descendent of captains and boat builders, I accept this honor in tribute to the legacy of my seafaring ancestors. Cheers to many a lovely cruise!"

Savannah spent much of her childhood traveling on seaplanes, sailboats, and tour buses with her father. Raised amidst the rhythm of the waves and the allure of sandy shores, Savannah's childhood was immersed in maritime culture.

From acting and literature to music history and photography, she delved into a myriad of disciplines, drawing inspiration from her father's diverse range of talents. Throughout her career, she's worn numerous hats, serving as a creative and musical consultant, hosting her own radio show on SiriusXM's Radio Margaritaville, and co-authoring two children's books with her father, "Jolly Mon" and "Trouble Dolls." Amidst her array of achievements and passion for discovery, Savannah holds her lifelong bond with her father as her most beloved treasure.

"Jimmy would be thrilled that Savannah is the Godmother of the Islander," noted John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings and Buffett's partner of 28 years. "With his eldest daughter holding this honor, the christening of the Islander will be a very, very special day for all of us."

With four to seven-night cruises to Key West, Cozumel, and Progreso, Margaritaville at Sea Islander will span 12 passenger decks accommodating 2,650 passengers. The more than 250,000 guests who have sailed aboard the Palm Beach-based Margaritaville at Sea Paradise will find several familiar favorites, including Paradise Pickleball at Sea, Frank and Lola's Pizzeria, and Cheeseburger in Paradise as well as unforgettable new spaces and experiences to explore like the world's only three-story LandShark Bar, Mexican Cutie Cantina, a Margaritaville-inspired cornhole and mini-golf course, and new family-friendly spaces like the Caribbean Amphibian Play Pad and Slide.

"We are honored to have Savannah as the Godmother of the Islander as she embodies the lifestyle Jimmy was passionate about: life on the water, great food, entertainment, and everything our guests have come to enjoy while vacationing with Margaritaville at Sea," shared Christopher Ivy, CEO of Margaritaville at Sea.

Currently finalizing an extensive transformation, Margaritaville at Sea has redesigned all 1,105 staterooms with all new furnishings and custom styling reminiscent of the sand, sea, and sky. With more than 700 Breezy Balcony staterooms, Grand Terrace Suites, luxurious Corner Suites, and ultra-exclusive Signature Grand Suites, couples, families, and friends alike can chase the sunset from their spacious balconies with endless gulf breezes.

Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Apex Homeports in Southampton
Setting sail today for her debut season from Southampton, Celebrity Cruises' award-winning ship, Celebrity Apex, is turning heads as she becomes the first ship in the revolutionary Edge Series to call the United Kingdom home.

Celebrity Apex will kick off her European season from Southampton with an eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise. This serene sailing will visit idyllic locations across the region's much-loved destinations, including calls to Bruges, Belgium, also known as 'the Venice of the North', where travelers can stroll along canals and romantic cobblestone alleys; Geiranger, Norway, home to the beautiful Geirangerfjord which boasts dramatic scenery where waterfalls cascade into deep-blue water and snow-capped mountains tower around the ship; and Kristiansand, Norway, the waterfront town nicknamed 'Summer City' with sandy beaches, world-class shopping, and an exciting cultural scene.

Celebrity Apex, the second ship in the game-changing Edge Series, modernizes the way guests see the world, featuring an innovative outward-facing design and visionary spaces that stand apart from anything else at sea. Onboard, Celebrity Apex takes elevated cruising to a whole new level, with enhanced food and drink offerings, sought-after spa and wellness amenities, and high-energy entertainment that rival performances on land.

"We're bringing one of our most innovative ships, Celebrity Apex, to Southampton, providing guests the opportunity to sail in style directly from the UK," said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. "It's an exciting time as we elevate cruising from the region, enabling our guests to explore and restore with premium facilities, elevated food and drink experiences, and exciting activities and entertainment."

With itineraries covering stunning destinations from Northern Europe to the Canary Islands, the premium cruise line's state-of-the-art ship will cruise from Southampton from May through October in 2024. Throughout the summer season, travelers can experience a variety of exciting four-to-13-night sailings including the 12-night Norwegian Fjords and Arctic Circle cruise, where guests will revel in the region's breathtaking natural beauty. Guests can also take advantage of enhanced destination choices from Southampton. In addition to exploration across Northern Europe, sailings take in the breathtaking island of Ibiza where guests are invited to immerse themselves in delicious cuisine at local foodie hotspots, party at vibrant beach clubs and bask in the sunshine on the Mediterranean Sea.

Distinctive features set Celebrity Apex apart, showcasing the contemporary design elements that are a favorite of Celebrity's Edge Series ships. Celebrated experiences include the cantilevered multi-purpose venue 'The Magic Carpet' which invites guests to eat, drink and soar over the sea while discovering the greatest views that Europe has to offer; The Retreat, complete with a private restaurant, Luminae, lounge area and sundeck exclusive to its guests; dramatically expanded Infinite Veranda staterooms; soothing escapes at the Rooftop Garden; and, magnificent two-story Edge Villas, each with their own private terrace and plunge pool.

With 29 distinct restaurants, bars, and lounges to explore onboard, Celebrity Apex boasts a distinct food and beverage journey, where guests can try delicious, globally inspired menus. From Fine Cut Steakhouse to Raw on 5 and Eden, guests can discover a range of worldly culinary delights offering mouth-watering flavors in a truly elevated specialty dining experience.

Endless vibrant entertainment offerings can also be found onboard, including three exclusive stage shows in The Theatre. Relive the dramatic performances that have defined entertainment decade after decade with Rockumentary, experience an uplifting journey through the seasons of life and the moments that bring us all together with Tree of Life, and enjoy electrifying pop violin music, mesmerizing choreography and aerial acrobatics with Crystallize. The entertainment doesn't stop there as guests are drawn into an intimate cabaret show in The Club, along with a variety of themed experiences and activities throughout the ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.09 + 10.51%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 147.70 + 4.87%
Viking Holdings Ltd (VIK) 29.81 + 6.46%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.94 + 6.94%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Name the two ships that were involved in the only war-time battle between oceanliners? The battle occurred off the coast of Trinidad and one of the liners was sunk.

Answer - In September of 1914, the Carmania intercepted the Hamburg-Amerika liner Cap Trafalgar, in the waters off Trinidad. After an hour the Cap Trafalgar went down . The Carmania had received a total of 79 hits, and seven crewmembers were lost in the battle. courtesy of Ralph Sackett, Lichfield, UK


Cruise News - May 13, 2024

Carnival Corporation Rolls Out SpaceX's Starlink Across Entire Fleet
Carnival Corporation today announced that 100% of its ships across the global fleet are equipped with Starlink's high-speed, low-latency global internet connectivity.

The completed installation further enhances Carnival Corporation's onboard experience for its guests and crew to provide even faster service, greater capacity, and more reliable Wi-Fi on its fleet of 90-plus ships across its portfolio of world-class cruise brands. The roll-out of Starlink is the latest in a series of innovations and investments from Carnival Corporation that have collectively quadrupled its fleetwide bandwidth since 2019 through its industry-leading connectivity strategy.

The upgrade rivals on-land connectivity experiences, enabling guests and crew to stay connected anywhere in the world, including sharing pictures and videos, scrolling on social media, streaming live content, and working remotely. The added bandwidth also boosts each ship's operational and communications capabilities with more continuous onboard equipment monitoring and real-time connectivity and data sharing between ship and shore teams, along with the enhanced versatility to more quickly roll out new guest services and features, even while at sea.

"Starlink has been a game-changer for the onboard connectivity experience our cruise lines deliver to their guests, and we've already seen a surge in guest satisfaction and positive feedback from the super-fast and reliable Wi-Fi service we provide onboard," said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We see this technology as a win-win-win – it provides our guests with more flexibility to stay as connected as they'd like on vacation, it allows our crew to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and it enhances our onboard operational systems."

Carnival Corporation began its fleetwide roll-out of Starlink in December 2022 with Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships, before expanding to the company's other world-class cruise brands, which include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.

The Starlink expansion further advances the company's multi-provider strategy to deliver the same reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi service available on land while on board its global fleet of 90+ ships visiting more than 800 ports worldwide. Designed to support a variety of constantly moving vessels that sail all over the world, the company's system leverages technologies from a diverse range of suppliers and is capable of dynamically routing internet traffic and optimizing network speeds to provide a consistent experience to guests across every brand and itinerary.

Villa Vie Residences Introduces Endless Horizons Program
Villa Vie Residences, a leading innovator in modern-day residential cruising, proudly announces the new Endless Horizons program, transforming the concept of retirement for adventurers who dream of traveling the world without the hassle of planning or ongoing expenses. With a one-time payment of $299,999 USD for single occupancy and $499,999 USD for double occupancy, individuals can now retire into a life of adventure and cultural immersion, with everything taken care of from meals and accommodations to community activities.

Endless Horizons caters to individuals who envision their retirement years as a time for exploration and personal growth. Villa Vie Residences makes this possible by combining the comforts of home with the excitement of travel. Residents will enjoy a guaranteed Outside Cabin and access to more than 50 active interest groups ranging from culinary arts to fitness and purposeful exploration, ensuring a vibrant and engaging community atmosphere.

"Our goal is to offer a seamless solution for those looking to retire on a fixed budget to never worry about ongoing expenses again," says Mikael Petterson, Chief Executive Officer of Villa Vie Residences. "This is more than just a travel opportunity; it's a new way of life. For less than the price of an average home, you can secure a lifetime of experiences."

The Villa Vie Odyssey, currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment in Belfast, is set to embark on a transformative journey across seven continents beginning on May 30th, 2024. Residents who wish to experience the Villa Vie Odyssey before departure are invited to participate in ship tours available at the Belfast port, for a firsthand look at the enhancements being done to their new home.

"One aspect most people nearing retirement age are concerned about is ongoing living expenses and the possibility of outliving their savings," says Kathy Villalba, Chief Operating Officer of Villa Vie Residences. "This program eliminates that concern altogether while offering the ultimate dream: exploring every corner of the world by sea."

Celebrity Apex Homeports in Southampton for First-ever Season From the UK
Setting sail today for her debut season from Southampton, Celebrity Cruises’ award-winning ship, Celebrity Apex, is turning heads as she becomes the first ship in the revolutionary Edge Series to call the United Kingdom home.

Celebrity Apex will kick off her European season from Southampton with an eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise. This serene sailing will visit idyllic locations across the region’s much-loved destinations, including calls to Bruges, Belgium, also known as ‘the Venice of the North’, where travelers can stroll along canals and romantic cobblestone alleys; Geiranger, Norway, home to the beautiful Geirangerfjord which boasts dramatic scenery where waterfalls cascade into deep-blue water and snow-capped mountains tower around the ship; and Kristiansand, Norway, the waterfront town nicknamed ‘Summer City’ with sandy beaches, world-class shopping, and an exciting cultural scene.

Celebrity Apex, the second ship in the game-changing Edge Series, modernizes the way guests see the world, featuring an innovative outward-facing design and visionary spaces that stand apart from anything else at sea. Onboard, Celebrity Apex takes elevated cruising to a whole new level, with enhanced food and drink offerings, sought-after spa and wellness amenities, and high-energy entertainment that rival performances on land.

“We’re bringing one of our most innovative ships, Celebrity Apex, to Southampton, providing guests the opportunity to sail in style directly from the UK,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. “It’s an exciting time as we elevate cruising from the region, enabling our guests to explore and restore with premium facilities, elevated food and drink experiences, and exciting activities and entertainment.”

With itineraries covering stunning destinations from Northern Europe to the Canary Islands, the premium cruise line’s state-of-the-art ship will cruise from Southampton from May through October in 2024. Throughout the summer season, travelers can experience a variety of exciting four-to-13-night sailings including the 12-night Norwegian Fjords and Arctic Circle cruise, where guests will revel in the region’s breathtaking natural beauty. Guests can also take advantage of enhanced destination choices from Southampton. In addition to exploration across Northern Europe, sailings take in the breathtaking island of Ibiza where guests are invited to immerse themselves in delicious cuisine at local foodie hotspots, party at vibrant beach clubs and bask in the sunshine on the Mediterranean Sea.

Distinctive features set Celebrity Apex apart, showcasing the contemporary design elements that are a favorite of Celebrity’s Edge Series ships. Celebrated experiences include the cantilevered multi-purpose venue ‘The Magic Carpet’ which invites guests to eat, drink and soar over the sea while discovering the greatest views that Europe has to offer; The Retreat, complete with a private restaurant, Luminae, lounge area and sundeck exclusive to its guests; dramatically expanded Infinite Veranda staterooms; soothing escapes at the Rooftop Garden; and, magnificent two-story Edge Villas, each with their own private terrace and plunge pool.

With 29 distinct restaurants, bars, and lounges to explore onboard, Celebrity Apex boasts a distinct food and beverage journey, where guests can try delicious, globally inspired menus. From Fine Cut Steakhouse to Raw on 5 and Eden, guests can discover a range of worldly culinary delights offering mouth-watering flavors in a truly elevated specialty dining experience.

Endless vibrant entertainment offerings can also be found onboard, including three exclusive stage shows in The Theatre. Relive the dramatic performances that have defined entertainment decade after decade with Rockumentary, experience an uplifting journey through the seasons of life and the moments that bring us all together with Tree of Life, and enjoy electrifying pop violin music, mesmerizing choreography and aerial acrobatics with Crystallize. The entertainment doesn’t stop there as guests are drawn into an intimate cabaret show in The Club, along with a variety of themed experiences and activities throughout the ship.

Carnival Cruise Line Celebrates 30 Years of Sailing From New Orleans
Trumpets blared aboard Carnival Liberty today as Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its 30th year sailing from New Orleans. Community leaders and the cruise line’s Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse, world-famous for his New Orleans cuisine, were on board to mark the important milestone just after the ship arrived in its new home of Port NOLA for the first time.

Carnival’s Chief Communications Officer Chris Chiames and former Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, a New Orleans native, thanked local leaders for their longstanding partnership. Carnival is the top cruise operator in New Orleans and the only ocean cruise line to homeport in the city year-round. Nearly seven million guests have cruised from Port NOLA on a Carnival ship since the cruise line began the port’s first year-round service from the city in 1994.

“It’s an honor to share this great milestone and build on our successful partnership with the city and the port of New Orleans. We sail more than 400,000 guests from Port NOLA annually and for every one of them, our goal is the same: providing a fun and memorable vacation. That’s certainly a shared objective with the City of New Orleans, for all its visitors, which drives our partnership’s continued success,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy.

In the spirit of marking the special 30-year milestone, Carnival donated $30,000 to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support New Orleans’ education and culinary programs for youth. Lagasse led a tour of the ship’s main galley for a group of kids from the Belle Chasse Academy, a local school partner of Emeril's Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, shortly after making the first cut of a special anniversary cake created by Carnival Liberty’s culinary team.

“Even before joining the team, I knew well that Carnival has been a great partner to our incredible city. We’ve all seen and enjoyed the growing popularity of cruising from our port over the years, which continues to bring more people here to enjoy all the rich culture our city has to offer,” said Lagasse. “My restaurants, Emeril’s and Meril, are just a few blocks from the pier, and it’s also special getting to welcome a ship docking here for the first time. We’re proud Carnival Liberty and her great team are now calling New Orleans home.”

Carnival Liberty’s arrival maintains Carnival’s two-ship, year-round deployment strategy in New Orleans. The ship offers a variety of sailing options, with mostly week-long cruises visiting popular destinations in the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean. Two unique 14-day Panama Canal cruises are also open for sale and next year, Carnival Liberty will sail several voyages visiting Celebration Key, Carnival’s all-new, exclusive destination on the island of Grand Bahama. The ship shares its new home with Carnival Valor, which also offers an array of four- to seven-day cruises.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this monumental milestone with our valued partner, Carnival Cruise Line,” said Brandy D. Christian, President & CEO, Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “For 30 years, Carnival has shown an unwavering commitment to the New Orleans cruise market, and we are most grateful. Our cruise industry is thriving – and on track to exceed pre-pandemic numbers with the support of Carnival’s two year-round homeported vessels. We look forward to many more years of partnership and successes.”

Guests departing from New Orleans on Monday afternoon will sail on a six-day Western Caribbean cruise, visiting Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico as well as Belize City, Belize.

Princess Adds Historic America Cruisetour Ahead of 250th Anniversary of America
Princess guests discovering the scenic east coast on a 2025 Canada & New England cruise sailing out of New York City can now immerse themselves in historic America as they tour the nation's capital, interact with early settlers at a living history museum, visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and stand on the same soil as Thomas Jefferson at his Monticello estate, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This Historic America cruisetour takes guests on a seven-night, hosted land tour with overnight stays in Washington D.C., Williamsburg, Staunton, Gettysburg and Philadelphia prior to boarding a seven-day Canada/New England cruise onboard Enchanted Princess roundtrip from New York City.

"Visiting our nation's capital, nearby historic cities and landmarks always ranks high on travelers' lists of places to visit in their lifetime," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer, Princess Cruises. "We make traveling to historic America easy, educational and memorable with our knowledgeable and inspiring tour guides sharing the incredible stories of our country's settlers, leaders, landmarks and historic sites."

This Historic America cruisetour includes hotels, motorcoach transportation, sightseeing and most breakfasts and dinners. Sample itinerary details:

• Day 1: Arrive Washington, DC
• Day 2: Tour Arlington Cemetery, Embassy Row, National Cathedral, museums of choice, evening illumination tour of Lincoln, Vietnam, World War II, and Korean War Memorials
• Day 3: Visit Mount Vernon, George Washington's iconic estate, and Jamestown Settlement before arriving in Williamsburg for dinner at a Colonial Williamsburg Tavern
• Day 4: Full day of Colonial Williamsburg historic area
• Day 5: Tour Richmond National Battlefield Park and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate
• Day 6: Enjoy Harpers Ferry National Historic Park and guided tour of Gettysburg Battlefield
• Day 7: City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, for Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, First Bank, Carpenter's Hall, Betsy Ross House, Elfreth's Alley and Christ Church
• Day 8: Arrive in New York City to embark Enchanted Princess for cruise
• Day 9: Newport, Rhode Island • Day 10: Boston, Massachusetts
• Day 11: Portland, Maine
• Day 12: At Sea
• Day 13: Halifax, Canada
• Day 14: At Sea
• Day 15: Return to New York City

On sale now, there are 10 Historic America cruisetour options in 2025 with departure dates of August 16, 23, 30; September 6, 13, 20, 27; October 4, 11 and 18, 2025. Rates start at $4,529 per person.

Thornton added, "With the upcoming 250th anniversary of America in 2026, now is the time to visit our nation's historic landmarks and celebrate our independence."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.56 - 0.27%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 140.84 - 1.68%
Viking Holdings Ltd (VIK) 28.00 - 3.25%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 15.84 - 2.22%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the two ships that were involved in the only war-time battle between oceanliners? The battle occurred off the coast of Trinidad and one of the liners was sunk.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - The small line attached to a hawser while docking is called a "heaving line". courtesy of Bill Richards, Highlands, NJ


c

Cruise News - May 6, 2024

Queen Anne Departs for Historic Maiden Voyage

Queen Anne, the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag, set sail just after 9 pm local time as thousands of spectators gathered on the shores to watch the departure from vantage points across the city and along Southampton water.

Guests on board the 3,000-guest, 113,000-ton ship are set to enjoy a spectacular sail away party, with celebrations continuing throughout the voyage, including a special Maiden Gala Evening and performances from tenor Russell Watson.

Cunard's beautiful new ship set sail for a seven-night sailing to Lisbon via La Coruna, on May 3 and then the Portuguese city of Lisbon on May 7. She will then depart for a 14-night voyage to the Canary Islands.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "Queen Anne's maiden voyage signals the dawning of a new era in luxury ocean travel and her historic sail away from Southampton was a very special moment for everyone connected with Cunard. Here in the UK and across the globe, Cunard is famous for our beautiful iconic Queens. With Queen Anne joining our fleet, she marks not just a new icon but the completion of a perfect quartet alongside Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Strong First Quarter 2024 Financial Results
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024 and provided guidance for the second quarter and full year 2024.

First Quarter 2024 Highlights:

• Generated total revenue of $2.2 billion, a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2023 on 8% capacity growth, with GAAP net income of $17.4 million, or EPS of $0.04.

• Adjusted EBITDA nearly doubled over the prior year to $464.0 million, above guidance of $450 million. Achieved Adjusted EPS of $0.16, exceeding guidance of $0.12, compared to a loss of $(0.30) in the first quarter of 2023. Quarter performance was driven by strong revenue growth and continued focus on cost reductions and efficiencies.1

• The Company’s ongoing margin enhancement initiative drove continued improvement in operating costs. Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day was approximately $300 for the quarter. Adjusted Net Cruise Costs excluding Fuel per Capacity Day was approximately $165, or $164 in Constant Currency, in line with guidance, and flat year-over-year when the $5 Dry-dock impact is excluded.

• Occupancy was 104.6% for the quarter, in line with guidance, and total revenue per Passenger Cruise Day increased approximately 8%, compared to Q1 2023.

• Gross margin per Capacity Day was up 53% versus 2023 on an as reported and Constant Currency basis. Net Yield growth beat guidance increasing approximately 16.4%, or 16.2% versus 2023 on a Constant Currency basis.

• Total debt was $13.7 billion. Net Leverage declined a full turn from December 31, 2023, ending the quarter at 6.3x.

Recent Highlights

Announced the most transformative newbuild program in the Company’s history—a total of eight state-of-the-art vessels, representing nearly 25,000 additional berths, with new classes of ships for each of its three award-winning brands—and the construction of a multi-ship pier at Great Stirrup Cay, the Company’s private island destination in the Bahamas.

• S&P Global Ratings (S&P) upgraded both NCLC’s issuer credit rating and issue-level ratings. NCLC’s issuer credit rating has been upgraded to B+, marking a notable improvement in the Company’s creditworthiness. In addition, S&P raised the issue-level ratings on NCLC’s existing secured and unsecured debt. The Company’s senior secured debt ratings were raised to BB/BB- and its unsecured debt rating was upgraded two notches to B.

2024 Outlook

• Record bookings during the first quarter, drove a record booked position for the next twelve months.

• 2024 full year Net Yield guidance on a Constant Currency basis increased 100 basis points from the prior guidance to approximately 6.4% from 5.4%.

• 2024 full year Adjusted EBITDA guidance increased $50 million from the prior guidance to approximately $2.25 billion from $2.20 billion.

• Full year Adjusted Net Income guidance increased $45 million from prior guidance to $680 million from $635 million, and Adjusted EPS guidance increased $0.09 from prior guidance to $1.32 from $1.23.

“We kicked off 2024 with impressive momentum, with record bookings in the first quarter propelling us to continue our all-time high booked position and an unprecedented level of advance ticket sales. These achievements demonstrate the continued growing demand we are experiencing for our product and offerings,” remarked Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

“Recently, we announced the most comprehensive newbuild program in our Company’s history- eight state-of-the-art vessels, each a new class for our three award-winning brands as well as the construction of a new pier at Great Stirrup Cay. Later this month at our Investor Day, we will be unveiling our comprehensive multi-year strategic, operational and financial updates, which will underscore our focus on delivering experiences that our guests truly value. By enhancing our capacity and elevating our product to create the best, largest, and most efficient vessels in our fleet, we are honoring our 57-year history of innovation that has always driven our growth and continues to be at the forefront of what we do,” continued Sommer.

Business, Operations and Booking Environment Update

NCLH said that it continues to experience healthy consumer demand and thanks to a strong WAVE season, had record bookings during the first quarter leading to a continued record booked position for the next twelve months. Additionally, onboard revenue per Capacity Day remains robust, up 11% in the quarter compared to 2023, with broad-based strength across all revenue streams. The Company’s advance ticket sales balance, including the long-term portion, ended the first quarter of 2024 at an all-time record high of $3.8 billion, approximately 13% higher than the same period of 2023.

Occupancy was 104.6% for the first quarter of 2024, in line with guidance. Full year 2024 Occupancy is expected to average 105.1%, consistent with prior guidance. In addition, pricing growth in the first quarter was also strong with total revenue per Passenger Cruise Day up approximately 8%, with capacity growth of 8% compared to 2023. Gross margin per Capacity Day was approximately $102 in the quarter, up 53% versus 2023 on an as reported and Constant Currency basis. Net Yield growth was up approximately 16.4%, or 16.2% versus 2023 on a Constant Currency basis, above guidance.

NCLH said that it demonstrated continued progress on its ongoing margin enhancement initiative and efforts to maximize revenue opportunities and rightsize its cost base. Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day was approximately $300 in the first quarter, compared to $298 last year. Adjusted Net Cruise Costs excluding Fuel per Capacity Day in the first quarter of 2024 was approximately $165, or $164 in Constant Currency, which included a $5 impact from increased Dry-dock days and related costs, in line with guidance and essentially flat year-over-year without the impact of these Dry-docks.

For the full year 2024, NCLH said that it increased its Net Yield guidance by 100 basis points from prior guidance to growth of approximately 6.4% from approximately 5.4% on a Constant Currency basis compared to 2023. The increase in guidance is driven by exceptional demand across all three brands which almost fully offsets the impact from the redeployed voyages related to the Middle East and Red Sea. Full year Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day guidance remained unchanged and is expected to be approximately $159, increasing approximately 3.4% in Constant Currency, which includes an approximate 300 basis point impact from Dry-dock days and related costs in the year. Excluding this impact, Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day would be essentially flat year-over-year. As a result, full year 2024 Adjusted EBITDA guidance increased by $50 million to $2.25 billion from $2.20 billion and Adjusted EPS guidance was increased by $0.09 to approximately $1.32 from approximately $1.23.

Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas Begins Tests at Sea
The countdown is on for the next big thing coming to vacations, the ultimate short getaway: Royal Caribbean International’s Utopia of the Seas is almost ready for its debut. Starting today, the next in the lineup of game-changing Oasis Class ships is making its way to the open ocean for the first time to begin five days of testing. The sea trial, also known as one of the final construction milestones, begins just 10 weeks ahead of the new vacation’s homecoming party and official introduction in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida, in July 2024.

More than 900 experts, specialists across areas like naval architecture, engineering, navigation and design, are on Utopia to push the ship to its limits and make sure it’s ready for smooth sailing. The teams are carrying out hundreds of tests and inspections, from how the ship moves through the open water and the operation of its navigation systems to engine performance, back-of-house technical checks and more. The ultimate short getaway will cover more than 1,000 miles during the five-day trial, and once complete, it will be all systems go for the final phase of construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Starting July 19, Utopia will welcome vacationers to make more memories on short getaways than ever before as the first Oasis Class ship to debut with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises. Friends and families can celebrate just getting away, or any occasion, with a lineup of firsts and signature experiences that brings big weekend energy to every day of the week. From more than 40 ways to dine, drink and party, including Royal Railway, a first-of-its-kind immersive train car dining experience; to more pools than the days to count, thrills like the longest dry slide at sea; and showstopping entertainment across air, ice, water and stage, everyone can enjoy their version of the ultimate short getaway on Utopia.

The party also extends from ship to shore because every vacation on Utopia includes time to thrill and chill on Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. With the island’s 14 waterslides, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean and The Bahamas, the newly opened adults-only oasis, Hideaway Beach, that features a private beach, pools and spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas and live music; and more, Utopia’s combination of adventures at sea and on land will redefine short getaways for years to

Princess Cruises Announces Return to San Juan Home Port
Princess Cruises today announced its return to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a season of Southern Caribbean cruises onboard Grand Princess, from October 2025 through March 2026. This vibrant capital city of Puerto Rico offers rich history and culture with must-see attractions for Princess guests pre- and post-cruise. These seven-day cruises, which visit more ports than any other 7-day Princess cruise to the Caribbean, are on sale May 16.

"Our return to San Juan after more than a decade not only reconnects our guests with a port rich in history and charm, but further expands the variety of departure points across North America that our guests can sail from," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer for Princess Cruises. "Puerto Rico remains one of the fastest-growing destinations in the Caribbean and continues to attract new airlift from source markets across the U.S. as well as markets in Europe and South America, which makes it a great fit for Princess. Plus, there are many outstanding options to choose from for a great pre- or post-cruise stay."

Originally scheduled to sail Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific voyages from Brisbane and Sydney, Grand Princess will now sail two alternating, seven-night itineraries, with departures from October 12, 2025 - March 29, 2026. These new itineraries each feature visits to five different and unique destinations, including many of the most highly rated Southern Caribbean destinations—many of which are not available on 7-day cruises departing from Florida.

"We are excited to welcome Princess Cruises back home to the Port of San Juan. This announcement underscores our commitment to cement San Juan as the leading homeport in the region, where guests can sail throughout the wonderful ports of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Furthermore, the sailings will help drive economic development for both Puerto Rico and our regional partners", said Carlos Mercado Santiago, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Grand Princess Itineraries Sailing Roundtrip from San Juan:

Day 1 – Depart San Juan
Day 2 – Tortola
Day 3 – St. Kitts
Day 4 – Dominica
Day 5 – Grenada
Day 6 – Barbados
Day 7 – At Sea
Day 8 – Return San Juan

Day 1 – Depart San Juan
Day 2 – St. Thomas
Day 3 – St. Maarten
Day 4 – Antigua
Day 5 – St. Vincent
Day 6 – Barbados
Day 7 – At Sea
Day 8 – Return San Juan

Guests can choose to combine itineraries for an incredible 14-day voyage.

The 2,600-guest Grand Princess offers an array of culinary delights, signature Princess amenities like The Sanctuary and Movies Under the Stars, and Broadway-style productions in the Princess Theater. Plus, guests can enjoy a truly personalized vacation with Princess MedallionClass, featuring next-level technology with MedallionNet - the best WiFi at sea - food and drinks delivered wherever they are, touchless experiences and more.

HAL Begins Pilot Test of Renewable Fuels on its Flagship, Rotterdam
Holland America Line announced the start of a long-term biofuel test on its flagship, Rotterdam, leveraging 100% low carbon intensity biofuel while sailing within the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords. The ship bunkered the biofuel before leaving the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 27, 2024, and will operate one of its four engines using low carbon intensity oil derived from organic waste or residues and certified according to the EU Renewable Energy Directive while in the Fjords. The GoodFuels MR1-100 sustainable biofuel supplied by FincoEnergies will yield an estimated 86% reduction in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.

“Holland America Line is committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and we are excited to demonstrate a next-generation fuel source that can help us toward our pursuit of net zero emissions,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Converting items such as food waste into fuel is an innovative way to meet environmental challenges and we thank the Dutch government for its support.” The initial tests will occur on one of the ship’s four engines during cruises this month, with the potential to expand to multiple engines during the summer while operating in the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords, specifically Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord.

What Are Biofuels?

Biofuels are derived from feedstocks that are certified as 100% organic waste or residue, with no risk of land-use change or deforestation and no competition with food production. Produced from waste fats, oils, and grease leftover from feedstock processing, biofuels are associated with minimal emissions during production. This results in a very low carbon intensity, with an estimated reduction of 86% in emissions compared to marine gas oil (MGO).

Holland America Line’s existing ships operate on biofuels without modifications to the engine or fuel structure. Holland America Line continues to partner with companies to find ways to reduce emissions and develop alternative fuels and technologies.

“The GoodFuels MR1-100 fits the existing practice in shipping where heavier fuels are already used today” said Johannes Schurmann, Commercial Director International Marine at FincoEnergies. “Together with our clients, we optimize sustainability and cost of the biofuel, while not jeopardizing the performance in the engine and fuel system.”

“There is a need to look at all good alternatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future and we see biofuels as one of the alternatives that, with the right use and origin, will contribute to emission reductions, which we welcome. The Norwegian Maritime Authority takes a positive view of all measures taken by the industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Alf Tore, Acting Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Norwegian Maritime Authority.

Princess Announces 2025-26 South America & Antarctica Cruises
The exotic nature of South America attracts travelers to experience the diverse cultures, food, biomes, and the grandeur of the last "untouched" region of Antarctica. In fact, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), a record 105,331 people visited Antarctica last season. With its newly announced 2025-2026 season, Princess Cruises gives more guests the opportunity to see this less traveled part of the world with affordable rates, a wide range of shore excursions, and the comfort of a ship that can safely navigate this journey while offering countless amenities and activities to enjoy.

"Our upcoming 2025-26 cruise season to South America and Antarctica promises remarkable journeys with incredible opportunities to glide through glacial waters of Antarctica to enjoy views of Elephant Island, Antarctic Sound and Gerlache Strait – all unforgettable sites to behold," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer, Princess Cruises. "Plus our thoughtfully planned itineraries offer guests more time in robust South American cities to fully immerse themselves in the culture to get a taste of how the locals live."

Why book a 2025-26 South America & Antarctic adventure with Princess Cruises? Top reasons include:

• 20 destinations in 11 countries with seven total departures, featuring five unique itineraries sailing from November 2025 to January 2026.

• Sapphire Princess is on the current IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) approved operator list to cruise this region, sharing in the association's mission to advocate and promotes the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. Sapphire Princess takes more passengers to Antarctica than any other ship on the IAATO list.

• Antarctica 17-day Adventure cruises feature four days of exploration in the Antarctic region and a special festive voyage that celebrates both Christmas and New Year's Day at sea, complete with an overnight stay in Buenos Aires.

• A Cape Horn & Strait of Magellan 16-day journey, offering an overnight in Buenos Aires and breathtaking scenic cruising past the Amalia Glacier.

• The 53-day Ultimate Antarctica & South America Adventure, connecting Los Angeles and Buenos Aires, with overnight stays in Lima (Callao) and Buenos Aires.

• Numerous opportunities to explore 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Historic Centre of Lima; Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana from San Martin; Church of Atlántida, the work of engineer Eladio Dieste from Montevideo; Peninsula Valdés Patagonian Nature Reserve from Puerto Madryn; the Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso from San Antonio.

• Notable scenic cruising of Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Princess brings the local culture on board for destination immersion like no other cruise line, from cultural enrichments like lively Argentine folkloric musicians, savory regional cuisine and dynamic samba classes; to destination experts including South American historians; and specially-themed entertainment including unique sail-in or sail-away celebrations.

For guests wishing to combine a land tour to inspiring inland landmarks before or after their cruise, Princess offers two cruisetour options:

• Iguazú Falls Adventure – features the thundering Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a visit to Rio de Janeiro.

• Machu Picchu Explorer – visits the ancient Inca compound, Machu Picchu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, plus a tour of the historic city of Cusco.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.60 - 3.50%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 143.25 - 0.08%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.20 - 15.54%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - The first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines was the Tropicale 1982. She then now sailed for Costa and P&O. courtesy of Craig Satterfield, Hawaii


Cruise News - April 29, 2024

Cunard's Queen Anne Sets Sail for Her Homeport of Southampton
Cunard’s newest ship Queen Anne set sail for her homeport of Southampton after officially joining the luxury cruise line’s iconic fleet.

Cunard took ownership of their stunning 3,000-guest ship during a traditional handover ceremony at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Venice on Friday (19 April).

Crowds joined together at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard to wave an emotional goodbye to Queen Anne after five years of skilled construction in Italy.

Queen Anne, the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag, will now set sail for the south coast ahead of her seven-night maiden voyage to Lisbon on 3 May. She will arrive in her homeport on 30 April.

During the sail home, Captain Inger Thorhauge and her crew will be excitedly preparing for the ship’s very first guests to join the 113,000-ton Queen.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: “We are immensely proud of Queen Anne. Not only does she reflect the Cunard distinctive style on the outside, the inside perfectly echoes the brand heritage with reimagined, elegant spaces and designs. We can’t wait to welcome guests on board for her maiden voyage on 3 May.”

Carnival Firenze Named in Long Beach
Carnival Cruise Line solidified its position as the leading cruise line in California on Wednesday as it christened its newest ship, Carnival Firenze, at its new home, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal.

Hollywood actor Jonathan Bennett served as the ship's godfather, and he and Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy celebrated all things Italian with the help of a Broadway star, a Puccini aria, and even a Catholic priest making a running jump onto the stage to deliver a blessing.

The 5,000-guest Carnival Fun Italian Style ship is sailing year-round from the Port of Long Beach, building on the popularity of Carnival cruises by adding significant capacity and joining two Carnival ships currently sailing year-round -- the 5,100-passenger Carnival Panorama and the nearly 4,000-passenger Carnival Radiance. Launching just ahead of the busy summer travel season, and amid continued growth of cruise vacations’ popularity, Carnival Firenze is part of a significant expansion that added five ships to the Carnival fleet in the past 18 months. By next year, Carnival will embark more than 750,000 guests from Long Beach on more than 200 sailings, an increase of 100,000 more guests compared to 2019.

“We carry more guests than any other cruise line from California, and now this ship is giving us the opportunity to offer more fun to more people sailing from Long Beach,” said Duffy. “The recipe combining this ship’s beautiful Italian theming with the familiarity of our friendly team’s hospitality is, in a word, perfecto!”

Bennett was made an honorary Italian during the fun-filled evening, which included a performance of Puccini’s "Nessun Dorma" by Carnival's Playlist Productions cast, an Italian blessing by Father Charbel Grbavac of the Mary Star of the Sea Catholic church in nearby San Pedro, and was capped off by a show-stopping performance by Leslie Kritzer, Bennett's co-star from the recent Broadway revival of "Spamalot."

Like sister Carnival Venezia, the ship features new concepts and experiences that put an Italian Style twist on Carnival staples for guests to enjoy. Carnival Firenze, however, is the first ship in the fleet to usher in new technology and harnesses artificial intelligence that creates guides for optimal, energy-saving routes on each sailing. The ship’s captain and officers will be the first to utilize this significant update to Carnival’s voyage efficiency system, ahead of a fleetwide rollout the cruise line expects to begin later this year. The ship is also the latest Carnival vessel to utilize shore power and joins Carnival Panorama and Carnival Radiance in connecting to the electric grid while docked in Long Beach instead of running its engines.

The 2020-built Carnival Firenze just finished a 49-day dry dock in Cadiz, Spain that integrated Carnival Fun Italian Style features into the ship’s beautiful design. Notable additions to the ship include the specialty restaurant Il Viaggio – Italian for “The Voyage;” it’s aptly named as its menu promises a journey across Italy through the country’s rich and diverse cuisine. Special programming, like Festa Italiana, a top-deck “street party,” enhances the Italian theming. The ship will sail a variety of itinerary lengths, with three- to seven-day Baja Mexico and Mexican Riviera cruises open for sale now through the spring of 2026.

Royal Caribbean Group Reports First Quarter Results
Royal Caribbean Group last week reported first quarter Earnings per Share ("EPS") of $1.35 and Adjusted EPS of $1.77. These results were better than the company's guidance due to stronger pricing on close-in demand, strength in onboard revenue and favorable timing of expenses. As a result of an exceptional WAVE season and continued strength in demand, Royal Caribbean Group said that it is increasing 2024 Adjusted EPS guidance to $10.70 - $10.90 per share.

"Wow, what a great start to the year! Demand for our leading brands and the incredible experiences they deliver continues to be very robust, resulting in outperformance in the first quarter, a further increase of full year earnings guidance, and 60% expected earnings growth year over year," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Building on this momentum, we expect to achieve all our Trifecta financial goals in 2024, which allows us to focus on a new era of growth to drive long-term shareholder returns and take a greater share of the rapidly growing $1.9 trillion global vacation market."

Key Highlights

Stronger than anticipated demand led to a record WAVE season and continued strength in bookings in April from both a volume and pricing standpoint. This robust booking environment across all key itineraries coupled with continued strength in onboard spend, led to higher revenue versus guidance in the first quarter and a further improvement in full year yield expectations.

First Quarter 2024:

• Load factors in the first quarter were 107%.

• Gross Margin Yields were up 60.3% as-reported. Net Yields were up 19.3% in Constant-Currency (19.5% as-reported).

• Gross Cruise Costs per Available Passenger Cruise Days ("APCD") increased 5.1% as-reported. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC"), excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 4.1% in Constant-Currency (4.2% as-reported), which benefited from 325 bps of favorable timing of expenses.

• Total revenues were $3.7 billion, Net Income was $360 million or $1.35 per share, Adjusted Net Income was $478 million or $1.77 per share, Adjusted EBITDA was $1.2 billion, and operating cash flow was $1.3 billion.

Full Year 2024 Outlook:

• Net Yields are expected to increase 9.0% to 10.0% in Constant-Currency and as-reported.

• NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD is expected to increase approximately 5.5% in Constant-Currency (approximately 5.4% as-reported), including 310 bps of costs related to increased drydock days and the new operations of Hideaway Beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Approximately one third of the increase in unit costs, compared to prior guidance, is related to lower APCDs due to cancelled Red Sea Sailings with the remainder driven by higher stock-based compensation.

• Adjusted EPS is expected to grow 60% year over year and be in the range of $10.70 to $10.90. The increase in earnings includes a $0.10 headwind related to a stronger dollar and higher fuel prices.

• Approximately one third of the increase is attributable to the first quarter business outperformance with the remainder mainly driven by better business outlook, lower interest expense but also higher stock-based compensation.

Royal Caribbean Group said that it expects to achieve all of its Trifecta financial goals in 2024: triple digit EBITDA per APCD, ROIC in the teens, and double digit EPS, one year earlier than prior expectations. First Quarter 2024 Results

Net Income for the first quarter of 2024 was $360 million or $1.35 per share compared to Net Loss of $(48) million or $(0.19) per share for the same period in the prior year. Adjusted Net Income was $478 million or $1.77 per share for the first quarter of 2024 compared to Adjusted Net Loss of $(59) million or $(0.23) per share for the same period in the prior year. Royal Caribbean Group said that it also reported total revenues of $3.7 billion and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.2 billion.

Gross Margin Yields increased 60.3% as-reported, and Net Yields increased 19.3% in Constant Currency (19.5% as-reported) when compared to the first quarter of 2023. Load factor for the quarter was 107%, up 5 percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2023. About half of the first quarter yield growth was driven by higher ticket pricing on existing hardware, with the remainder driven by a combination of onboard revenue rates, higher load factors, and new hardware. While onboard revenue continues to grow, Royal Caribbean Group said that it is particularly pleased with the significant increase in ticket rates compared to 2023.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.1% as-reported, compared to 2023. NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 4.1% in Constant Currency (4.2% as-reported), when compared to the first quarter 2023. Costs were favorable to prior guidance due to the timing of expenses.

Update on Bookings

The demand and pricing environment continues to be very strong. Overall, this has been the strongest WAVE season in the company's history from both a demand and pricing standpoint. As a result, Royal Caribbean Group said that it continues to be in a record booked position, with rates for 2024 sailings even further ahead of 2023 than they were at the beginning of the year. In addition to record ticket pricing, consumer spending onboard and pre-cruise purchases continue to exceed prior years driven by greater participation at higher prices.

"Our existing fleet along with our new ships continue to perform exceptionally well, highlighted by the market response to the launch of Icon of the Seas, which has exceeded all expectations," added Liberty. "The momentum continues with Utopia of the Seas and Silver Ray, set to launch this summer. And, just this quarter alone, we announced an order for a seventh Oasis Class ship and the expansion of our Royal Beach Club portfolio in Cozumel; and we officially broke ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island. These strategies will further propel our leadership in the cruise industry and push us to new heights in the vacation industry."

As of March 31, 2024, the Group's customer deposit balance was at $6.0 billion.

Second Quarter 2024

Net Yields are expected to increase 10.20% to 10.70% in Constant Currency (10.0% to 10.5% as-reported).

NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD, is expected to increase 7.4% to 7.9% in Constant Currency (7.2% to 7.7% as-reported) compared to 2023 and includes costs related to increased drydock days and the operations of Hideaway Beach, as well as timing of costs shifted from the first quarter.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean Group said that it expects second quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $2.65 to $2.75.

Villa Vie Odyssey Secures Financing, Enters Dry Dock in Belfast
Villa Vie Residences, a leading innovator in modern-day residential cruising, announced having secured a Term Loan Facility from funds advised by NRP Maritime Asset Management AS, a Norwegian maritime fund manager, on April 26, 2024.

Subsequently, on April 28, the Company's vessel, Odyssey, entered dry-dock and is now scheduled to exit on May 21. Due to operational enhancements aimed at elevating the overall experience and safety of its residents, the departure of Villa Vie Odyssey, originally scheduled for May 15 from Southampton, UK, has been rescheduled to May 30 out of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Villa Vie Odyssey, currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment, is set to embark on a transformative journey across seven continents, offering residents an unparalleled lifestyle of luxury and exploration. The ship, formerly known as MS Braemar by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, is undergoing a renovation to elevate the onboard experience to new heights, catering to the sophisticated needs of modern travelers.

"We are excited about our latest accomplishments and our upcoming launch of Villa Vie Odyssey and the enhancements we are making to ensure an exceptional experience for all our residents," said Mikael Petterson, Chief Executive Officer of Villa Vie Residences. "The delay in departure is a necessary operational adjustment aimed at upholding the highest standards of service and safety."

During this period of transition, Villa Vie Residences is fully prepared to assist residents in every aspect of their journey. A dedicated hotline has been established for residents to address any concerns or inquiries related to the rescheduled departure. Additionally, Villa Vie will cover all change fees incurred by residents due to the new departure date.

Residents who wish to experience the Villa Vie Odyssey before departure are invited to participate in ship tours and explore the amenities offered onboard. Tours will be available at the Belfast port, providing residents with a firsthand look at the enhancements being made to the ship.

"Our team is committed to providing personalized assistance and ensuring that our residents have a seamless and enjoyable experience with Villa Vie Residences," said Kathy Villalba, Chief Operating Officer of Villa Vie Residences. "Excitement over our upcoming cruise is growing – with over 80% of our available cabins sold – and continues to increase everyday as we near our departure."

Oceania Cruises Debuts New Mediterranean Sailings for 2025
Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, has debuted an array of new 2025 Mediterranean sailings, ranging from nine to 56 days, to whisk guests to some of the most breathtaking destinations in Europe. The line's Marina and Nautica will set sail on enticing voyages taking in iconic islands in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Adriatic; well-loved European resort towns and bustling cities, and lesser-known ports of call.

Cities including Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome and Lisbon frame the 16 voyages, allowing the ships to meander from lively jet-set resort towns such as Monte Carlo, Cannes, Positano and Sorrento, to hidden gems including Tirana and Sarande in Albania; Trapani in Sicily; Calvi and Propriano in Corsica, and Sibenik in Croatia.

Thanks to Oceania Cruises' extensive set of small-group, immersive shore excursions, guests can rediscover previously-visited favorites through a new lens, or discover new places for the very first time. For example, whilst in Santorini, guests can choose an adventurous tour of the island's active volcanoes, or whilst in Montenegro, see a new side of Kotor by exploring Europe's southernmost fjord, Boka Bay.

"Oceania Cruises is rightly renowned for its inventive and captivating itineraries, and our array of 2025 Mediterranean sailings is the perfect way to spotlight one of the most popular and exciting cruise regions of the world," stated Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "With shore excursions to inspire everyone, from active adventurous types to history buffs to foodies, our small, luxurious ships are the perfect way to discover this majestic region of the world."

New 2025 Mediterranean Itineraries

Marina

The 1,250-guest ship, Marina, will undergo an expansive refurbishment in May 2024. The refurbishment will include the addition of two new dining options: Aquamar Kitchen, the new wellness-inspired dining venue which debuted on Vista this year; and the al fresco evening Pizzeria, serving spectacular Italian dishes including pizzas and burrata with stunning seascape views; plus an expanded poolside ice cream parlor serving milkshakes and smoothies. All Penthouse Suites and bathrooms will be completely reinspired, and the ship's public areas will be refreshed.

Barcelona to Athens, May 26, 2025, 9 days: Barcelona, Valletta, Rhodes, Ephesus (Kusadasi), overnight in Istanbul, Mitilini (Lesbos), Athens

Istanbul to Athens, October 16, 2025, 11 days: One overnight stay in Istanbul, Pergamum (Dikili), Bodrum, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Santorini, Rhodes, Limassol, Marmaris, Heraklion (Crete), Mykonos, Athens.

Athens to Barcelona, October 27, 2025, 11 days: Athens, Split, Kotor, Corfu, Katakolon, Messina (Sicily), Valletta, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona.

Athens to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, October 27, 2025, 21 days: Athens, Split, Kotor, Corfu, Katakolon, Messina (Sicily), Valletta, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Malaga, Seville (Cadiz), Casablanca, Agadir, Arrecife (Lanzarote), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz de la Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Nautica

Elegantly charming, Nautica carries just 670 guests, served by 400 crew members. Boasting luxurious, residential furnishings and decks of the finest teak, custom stone and tile work, Nautica features four restaurants, the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, plus eight lounges and bars, and a casino.

Istanbul to Athens, July 27, 2025, 12 days: Istanbul, Pergamum (Dikili), Izmir, Samos, Bodrum, Rhodes, Antalya, Alanya, Limassol, Kos, Heraklion, Santorini, Athens

Athens to Rome, August 8, 2025, 14 days: Athens, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Bari, Valletta, Tunis, Trapani (Sicily), Porto Cervo (Sardinia), Propriano (Corsica), Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence / Pisa / Tuscany (Livorno), Rome.

Athens to Valletta, September 11, 2025, 14 days: Athens, Mykonos, Mitilini (Lesbos), Bozcaada (Troy), overnight in Istanbul, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Marmaris, Antalya, Limassol, Rhodes, Santorini, Heraklion (Crete), Valletta.

Grand Voyages

Rome round-trip, July 7, 2025, 46 days

Venice to Rome, July 17, 2025, 36 days

Rome to Athens, October 4, 2025, 23 days

Athens round-trip, August 8, 2025, 34 days

Athens to Malaga, September 11, 2025, 26 days

Athens to Lisbon, September 11, 2025, 36 days

Rome to Miami, October 4, 2025, 56 days

Istanbul to Barcelona, October 16, 2025, 22 days

Istanbul to Tenerife, October 16, 2025, 32 days

Princess Cruises Announces Revised 2025 World Cruise Itineraries
Given the ongoing situation in the Red Sea and surrounding area and following extensive consultation with global security experts and government authorities, Princess Cruises is revising the itineraries for its two 2025 World Cruises, which will no longer visit the Middle East or Asia, and now instead, will offer new port stops in Africa and Europe.

"A Princess World Cruise is truly the voyage of a lifetime and after careful consideration with guidance from global security experts and government authorities, we know our guests will understand and appreciate the change to our upcoming 2025 itineraries to avoid certain areas," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer of Princess Cruises. "These global events beyond our control have necessitated these reroutings but we are pleased to continue to ensure these world cruises retain destination-rich itineraries with incredible stops along the west Africa coast and the Mediterranean."

Island Princess World Cruise

Sailing from North America on Island Princess, the 116-day World Cruise offers two roundtrip options with departures from both Ft. Lauderdale, embarking January 5, 2025, and Los Angeles on January 20, 2025, and ends in Los Angeles on May 17, 2025. This destination dreamers delight will traverse over 36,700 nautical miles, visiting 46 destinations in 24 countries and six continents. The voyage includes visits to historic Bar, Montenegro and Taranto, Italy, along with inaugural World Cruise calls to the idyllic Greek Island of Patmos and to Volos – for the Monasteries of Meteora.

The revised World Cruise itinerary, from February 16-April 9, departs Sydney and will travel to Melbourne and Perth, then on to South Africa. From there, the cruise resumes the scheduled itinerary starting in Valletta, Malta on April 9.

Following is the amended portion of the voyage:

Date 

Destination 

Sunday, February 16 

Sydney, Australia (as scheduled) 

Monday, February 17 

At Sea 

Tuesday, February 18 

Melbourne, Australia 

Wednesday, February 19 

At Sea 

Thursday, February 20 

At Sea 

Friday, February 21 

At Sea 

Saturday, February 22 

At Sea 

Sunday, February 23 

Perth (Fremantle), Australia 

Monday, February 24 

At Sea 

Tuesday, February 25 

At Sea 

Wednesday, February 26 

At Sea 

Thursday, February 27 

At Sea 

Friday, February 28 

At Sea 

Saturday, March 1 

At Sea 

Sunday, March 2 

At Sea 

Monday, March 3 

Port Louis, Mauritius 

Tuesday, March 4 

At Sea 

Wednesday, March 5 

At Sea 

Thursday, March 6 

At Sea 

Friday, March 7 

At Sea 

Saturday, March 8 

At Sea 

Sunday, March 9 

Cape Town, South Africa (overnight) 

Monday, March 10 

Cape Town, South Africa 

Tuesday, March 11 

At Sea 

Wednesday, March 12 

Walvis Bay, Namibia 

Thursday, March 13 

At Sea 

Friday, March 14 

At Sea 

Saturday, March 15 

At Sea 

Sunday, March 16 

At Sea 

Monday, March 17 

At Sea 

Tuesday, March 18 

At Sea 

Wednesday, March 19 

At Sea 

Thursday, March 20 

Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands 

Friday, March 21 

At Sea 

Saturday, March 22 

At Sea 

Sunday, March 23 

Madeira (Funchal), Portugal 

Monday, March 24 

At Sea 

Tuesday, March 25 

Gibraltar 

Wednesday, March 26 

At Sea 

Thursday, March 27 

At Sea 

Friday, March 28 

Siracusa, Italy 

Saturday, March 29 

At Sea 

Sunday, March 30 

Athens (Piraeus), Greece 

Monday, March 31 

Volos, Greece 

Tuesday, April 1 

Patmos, Greece 

Wednesday, April 2 

Kusadasi, Turkey (for Ephesus) 

Thursday, April 3 

Rhodes, Greece 

Friday, April 4 

Crete (Chania), Greece 

Saturday, April 5 

At Sea 

Sunday, April 6 

Dubrovnik, Croatia 

Monday, April 7 

Bar, Montenegro 

Tuesday, April 8 

Taranto, Italy 

Wednesday, April 9 

Valletta, Malta (as scheduled) 

Those guests scheduled to originally depart or join the cruise from Dubai on March 14, 2025, will now embark or disembark four days earlier on March 9, in Cape Town, South Africa. Booked guests disembarking in Cape Town will be refunded the amount equivalent to four days of the cruise fare and those joining earlier will not incur an added cost to their cruise fare. All these guests will also receive a $300 onboard credit as a gesture of good will.

Crown Princess World Cruise

Departing from Down Under, Crown Princess - the largest ship to ever host a World Cruise - is scheduled to depart Auckland May 31, 2025; and Sydney June 4, 2025; and sail on a 113-day adventure visiting 42 destinations in 22 countries, across five continents. This cruise will also bypass the Red Sea and surrounding region, including the transit of the Suez Canal. The ship will travel via Africa instead of the Red Sea and Asia itinerary. The fully revised itinerary is currently being finalized and will be communicated shortly.

Carnival Corporation Completes Fleetwide Rollout of LR OneOcean Software
Carnival Corporation today announced it has completed the fleetwide rollout of LR OneOcean's EnviroManager+ software – the most comprehensive and data-rich implementation of the LR OneOcean platform to date – setting a new standard for maritime journey and environmental planning. The system will deliver efficiencies in passage planning and support voyage compliance excellence with all relevant international, regional, national, and local environmental regulations.

The EnviroManager+ system was jointly developed by Carnival Corporation and LR OneOcean during an intensive five-year collaboration involving senior maritime officials, shipboard crew members, company and industry environmental experts, regulatory compliance leaders, and technology innovators. Together the team created the most encompassing, data-intensive adaptation of the LR OneOcean platform to date designed to give shipboard crews improved, automated, and intuitive tools to support passage and environmental planning, as well as enable enhanced environmental requirement monitoring during voyages.

Carnival Corporation's nine world-class cruise lines and 90-plus ships sail all over the world, making more than 22,000 port calls each year to over 800 destinations, each with potentially different environmental regulations governing vessel operations. Rigorous requirements on air emissions, purified water release, and many others, can vary considerably on a day-to-day or even hour-by-hour basis depending on a vessel's location and onboard equipment. As a result, it is important for crews to have ongoing, easy access to detailed information regarding all environmental requirements affecting each specific area traveled along a cruise ship's itinerary.

EnviroManager+ provides this by visualising the precise boundaries of over 500 environmentally regulated zones worldwide via an intuitive, user-friendly interface. This data is overlaid with the many more restrictive, industry and Carnival Corporation-specific environmental policies to represent a complete view of the full scope of all environmental rules and regulations, regardless of governing body or jurisdiction. Updates to all policies and regulations are routinely and automatically shared with the fleet via a shore-to-ship data service within the LR OneOcean digital platform, which also automatically sends approved passage plans ashore for easy access to shoreside personnel.

The application accelerates and simplifies voyage planning by arming ships' officers with easy-to-use digital planning tools, including automatic route generation capabilities, to plan voyages and environmental operations. It also automatically validates the accuracy and permissibility of planned operations and navigational routes, delivering actionable intelligence to assist decision-making, reduce risk, and ensure continuous compliance throughout every voyage. Meanwhile, both shoreside and onboard personnel have access to regulatory information that can be monitored in real-time against each vessel's position, speed, and planned route.

John Haeflinger, Senior VP, Sustainability and Maritime Policy at Carnival Corporation, said: "Complying with environmental regulations is a top priority, and it is a real challenge for the cruise industry, as regulations and requirements constantly evolve and become more complex. As an industry leader proactively engaged in marine stewardship, we need to be confident that our operations meet all environmental requirements, including our own policies, which are often more restrictive. Given our longstanding engagement and collaboration on this project, LR OneOcean EnviroManager+ now gives us that confidence. I am convinced that the LR OneOcean product suite is the most comprehensive and complete maritime environmental regulatory database on the market today that is integrated with an automated passage plan solution for oceangoing vessels. I invite all other oceangoing ship operators committed to environmental compliance to consider giving it a try, because together we can build on the software's capabilities for the greater good."

Martin Penney, CEO, LR OneOcean said: "We are delighted to have partnered with Carnival Corporation in the successful adoption of EnviroManager+ across its fleet and support their journey to efficient environmental compliance management. Navigating the complex, rapidly changing regulatory landscape is a growing challenge in shipping. Operators, like Carnival Corporation, often cruise in areas of ecological significance and know how important staying environmentally compliant is to their guests. We applaud Carnival Corporation's commitment to its ship- and shore-based team members, providing them with software to ensure environmental compliance in their passage planning and execution."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.13 + 5.95%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 143.36 + 8.61%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 19.18 + 3.45%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which classic liner included among her amenities: 20 dog kennels - each carpeted with running water - and a replica New York City fire hydrant for her canine passengers?

Answer - The classic liner that included among her amenities 20 dog kennels and a replica New York City fire hydrant was the France of 1962. courtesy of Mike Schaeffer


Cruise News - April 22, 2024

Cunard Officially Welcomes New Ship Queen Anne with Ceremony at Fincantieri
She's the next in a fine line for Cunard, and today (April 19), Queen Anne officially joined the luxury cruise line's iconic fleet during a historic handover ceremony in Italy.

Cunard took ownership of their stunning 3,000-guest ship during a traditional handover ceremony at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Venice – where master shipbuilders have been constructing the luxurious vessel.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard; Paul Ludlow, President of Carnival UK; Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO and Managing Director of Fincantieri; Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager of the Fincantieri Merchant Ships Division; and Marco Lunardi, Fincantieri Shipyard Director, were also present.

Queen Anne, the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag – and the third built by Fincantieri – will now set sail for Southampton ahead of her seven-night maiden voyage to Lisbon on May 3.

As the newest addition to the Cunard fleet, Queen Anne's design concepts have been founded on heritage, craftsmanship, style, storytelling, and innovation, and the 114,000-ton ship, which spans 14 decks, will offer travelers several breath-taking experiences, and more choices of entertainment, dining, and bars than ever before.

Cunard has previously announced a series of partnerships for Queen Anne, including Le Gavroche at Sea residencies hosted by two Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, wellness packages curated by Harper's Bazaar UK's beauty experts, and exclusive British Film Institute screenings in The Pavilion.

She will also boast the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal, and spa facilities so far seen on a Cunard ship, with her reimagined Mareel Wellness & Beauty proposition heralding a new era of wellbeing at sea.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are so excited to welcome Queen Anne to our fleet as she completes a remarkable quartet alongside Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria – marking the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service. We are now fully focused on readying her to welcome guests for her maiden voyage on May 3 before she embarks on a historic British Isles Festival Voyage, including a momentous Naming Ceremony in Cunard's spiritual home of Liverpool on June 3."

Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO and Managing Director of Fincantieri, added: "We are very pleased and eager to deliver Queen Anne to Cunard, a pioneering figure in luxury sea travel, renowned for setting new standards in oceanic voyages for over 180 years. This beautiful and iconic ship testifies the longstanding partnership between our two companies, underscoring our shared commitment to excellence and tradition in the maritime industry. Queen Anne, as Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, the other two ships we built for Cunard, proudly bear Fincantieri's signature, embodying our enduring expertise, reliability, and craftsmanship in shipbuilding. Constructing a liner for such a distinguished shipowner not only reconnects us to our origins but propels us towards the future with a determination to blend tradition and innovation. Fincantieri thus confirms its leadership in the cruise shipbuilding sector, a fundamental pillar of the company's business project, as both the Group's Business Plan and the vitality of the post-pandemic cruise sector clearly show."

Princess Cruises and Fincantieri Announce to Postpone Delivery of Star Princess
Princess Cruises and ship builder Fincantieri today announced the mutual decision to postpone the delivery of the next Sphere Class ship, Star Princess.

Following a comprehensive review of the remaining construction milestones, both parties have elected to adjust the ship's delivery date from July 29, 2025 to September 26, 2025, which will result in the cancellation of the nine inaugural sailings.

"Despite our collective dedication and relentless pursuit to deliver the ship in late July, it has become evident that additional time is required to ensure the Star Princess is delivered to the highest standards expected by our guests," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.

The new inaugural sailings of Star Princess will sail roundtrip from Barcelona and include an 11-day Mediterranean voyage on October 4, 2025, and a 7-day Mediterranean voyage on October 15, 2025, that precede a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale on October 22, 2025 for the ship's first Caribbean season. These three new cruises will open for sale on April 30, 2024.

Guests who are booked on any of the impacted voyages will be given three options: book any Princess cruise worldwide, including aboard the new Star, sister ship Sun Princess, or any other Princess ship.

Guests who elect to rebook will receive future cruise- and onboard-credits depending on the cruise they select. Guests will also have the option to cancel and receive a full refund of the cruise fare.

Princess will protect travel agent commissions on all bookings that have been paid in full.

Star Princess is the second in the new Sphere Class of ships for Princess. Sister ship Sun Princess, built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, debuted in February and is hailed as the next level Love Boat featuring the iconic and elegant structural lines Princess is known for, while delivering an evolution of the brand with new eye-catching architectural spectacles like The Dome, the cruise industry's first geodesic feature on the top deck, and The Sphere, the suspended glass Sphere Piazza at the center of the cruise ship.

Seabourn Announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit
Seabourn announced this week that the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners as godparents of Seabourn Pursuit, the line's newest ultra-luxury, purpose-built expedition ship.

Seabourn is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. The naming of Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners as godparents of Seabourn Pursuit serves as a symbolic gesture of stewardship and responsibility toward the environment and the communities that Seabourn visits, as well as Seabourn's commitment to sustainable tourism. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit's June 22-July 2, 2024 voyage in the Kimberley region of Australia.

"We believe no one can give a better blessing to our ship than the communities we visit. We truly believe in the transformative power of travel, and when we visit local communities, we are able to both celebrate their culture and drive positive sustainable change in the places they call home," said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn. "When we set out to name the godparent for Seabourn Pursuit, we knew we wanted to do something that celebrates this special moment for the ship and also allows us to drive long-term sustainable positive change in line with the values Seabourn and our guests stand for."

The Wunambal Gaambera people are the Traditional Owners of a region in the Kimberley that includes the sea country of Ngula Jar Island (Vansittart Bay) and Yirinni (Hunter River), and the freshwater country of Ngauwudu (Mitchell Plateau). C

hristening the ship is a symbolic event that bestows blessings upon everyone who will ever sail on board. The godparents bring good luck and protection to the vessel with this maritime tradition. Godparent to the Wunambal Gaambera people can be described as garrangarru– which is a word used to describe a mother or listener. Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC), its country and people, embody ideal ambassadors or godparents for Seabourn Pursuit. Their rich cultural history and deep connection to the land and sea, alongside their established sustainable tourism initiatives along the Kimberley Coast, make them a natural fit for Seabourn Pursuit's inaugural season in Western Australia.

Representatives from the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation will be at Ngula Jar Island on the Uunguu Coast to welcome Seabourn Pursuit guests and to participate in the inaugural dedication ceremony on June 29, 2024.

A Lasting Partnership: Investing in Sustainable Tourism

As part of this appointment with the Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners, Seabourn will make a donation to assist Wunambal Gaambera to develop a self-sustaining industry, producing authentic works of art and craft by Wunambal Gaambera artists to sell. In addition, Seabourn will also supply the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation with pearl shells and various art supplies and polishing materials to foster sustainable, commercial arts and craft initiatives year-round for Wunambal Gaambera artists and craft producers.

Seabourn intends to work alongside Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners as they share their unique Uunguu Experience – the sharing of their Wanjina Wunggurr culture through welcome and smoking ceremonies; rock art tours; junba song and dance; and art and stories from the Uunguu Rangers looking after and keeping the country healthy.

"We, the Wunambal Gaambera people, have a communal need and responsibility to look after and prosper from our country. Seabourn's contributions will assist us to be on country, look after and keep our land and sea country healthy, strengthen our Wanjina Wunggurr culture, and create economic opportunities for our people," said Catherine Goonack, Chairperson of the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation. "It is important we are looking after our country in the way of our Wanjina Wunggurr law. We are happy when we and our future generations are living and working on our healthy Wunambal Gaambera Country. We appreciate Seabourn's support to us in these efforts and look forward to sharing our unique Uunguu Experience with Seabourn and their guests as the garrangarru or Godparents of the Seabourn Pursuit."

Seabourn's monetary contribution, along with funding already received from the State Tourism Authority, Tourism Western Australia, will contribute to Wunambal Gaambera's development of tourism facilities and products for Traditional Owners to live on their country during the dry season when tourism operators can access the vast coastline of the Kimberley region. Seabourn congratulates Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation's implementation of their Uunguu Visitor Management Plan to reconnect with their country, to manage visitor access and take leadership in the tourism industry, and to engage with water-based visitors who arrive on their land, thus participating in the value chain that operators like Seabourn offer. Ngula Jar Island will be featured on all Seabourn itineraries in the Kimberley, ensuring consistent visitation to Wunambal Gaambera Country.

"This is a wonderful collaboration of Wunambal Gaambera and Seabourn that is augmented by Tourism Western Australia, demonstrating our shared values and the promise of greater opportunities for Traditional Owners in the Kimberley region. We are proud to support Wunambal Gaambera's Ngula Jar Island development as we strive to position Western Australia as the leading Australian destination for authentic Aboriginal experiences," said Carolyn Turnbull, Managing Director of Tourism Western Australia. "We know visitors to Western Australia — the Dream State — are seeking immersive Indigenous experiences and the work we are supporting on Ngula Jar Island will enable this to happen. The ongoing visitation fueled by premium cruise tourism operators, like Seabourn, provides the necessary market to make this initiative successful and sustainable."

Seabourn's newest ultra-luxury, purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Pursuit, is an intimate ship with private, yacht-like atmosphere, featuring 132 luxuriously appointed ocean-front veranda suites — taking ultra-luxury travelers further, deeper, and closer to the most coveted and remote destinations in the world. Led by a world-class 24-person Expedition Team to deliver immersive experiences throughout the entire journey, each voyage offers exclusive experiences such as curated shore excursions, cultural tours, guided Zodiac cruises, hikes, nature walks, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Princess Cruises Unveils Exclusive New Sanctuary Collection
Elevating the art of relaxation and serenity, Princess Cruises is introducing exclusive, next-level Sanctuary Collection aboard Sun Princess and Star Princess, as these newest ships prepare to debut with this select, all-inclusive oasis in early 2024.

As the name suggests, guests reserving in the Sanctuary Collection enjoy exclusive access to the ship's top deck retreat area, along with a host of additional and high-end amenities designed to enhance their voyage. These indulgences include exclusive private dining and relaxation areas, a luxurious stateroom experience, as well as the Princess Premier bundle to round out the all-inclusive allure of the Sanctuary experience.

Aboard Sun Princess, the luxurious, spa-inspired, top-deck Sanctuary Club, is now reserved exclusively for Sanctuary Collection guests who access the private entry via their Princess Medallion. In the adults-only (16 and up) area, guests enjoy plush lounge furniture, private cabanas, pool and jacuzzi, attentive service, soothing music, refreshing beverages, and light fare. The Club also features exclusive programming, including sunrise yoga classes and sail-away receptions.

Other Sanctuary Collection amenities include priority specialty restaurant reservations, and premium stateroom amenities.

The new Sanctuary Collection aboard Sun Princess includes three levels of stateroom types – Signature Collection Suites (80), Mini Suites (123), and Premium Deluxe Balconies (12).

"Our new Sanctuary Collection offers guests those ultra-private, tucked away spaces that rival any high-end resort and surpasses the offerings of comparable cruise lines featuring similar ship-within-a-ship amenities," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. "With spacious and well-appointed accommodations, along with an array of premium extras and its exclusivity, our new Sanctuary Collection delivers the ultimate in access and indulgence to deliver an unparalleled experience."

Sanctuary Collection staterooms on Sun Princess and Star Princess go on sale today. Guests who have booked as of April 23, 2024 already have reserved Sanctuary Collection staterooms on either ship will receive the additional amenities outlined at no additional cost, excluding the premier bundle.

The 177,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess offers an array of exciting new culinary and entertainment offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories. With the most balconies and sun decks on any Princess ship, guests can take in the sunshine and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean from the comfort of their stateroom.

Seabourn Plans Special Entertainment and Activities to Commemorate Seabourn Odyssey's Farewell Voyage
Seabourn invites guests to experience the iconic Seabourn Odyssey one last time during its 22-day Farewell Voyage, departing September 2, 2024, from Seattle, Wash., to Yokohama, Japan. The one-of-a-kind voyage will feature a number of memorable tributes to Seabourn Odyssey's greatest moments, including appearances from the original team and performing cast, incredible local artists, and unique gifts and memories to be made with their Seabourn family.

In honor of this sailing, John Barron and Handré Potgieter will return as cruise directors for Seabourn Odyssey's final voyage. Both Barron and Potgieter were part of the original onboard team when the ship launched in 2009, when Barron served as the ship's first cruise director and Potgieter was part of the entertainment team. In addition, Seabourn President Natalya Leahy will be on board in Seattle to personally wish farewell to guests and the onboard team as they embark on this special voyage.

"Returning as cruise director for Seabourn Odyssey's Farewell Voyage is a heartfelt journey for me, filled with memories of her inception in the shipyard, the exhilaration of her maiden voyage, and the joy of witnessing guests embark on her for the first time," said Barron. "I'm thrilled to co-host this voyage with my dear friend Handré. We will celebrate 15 years of unforgettable moments, friendships, and the legacy Seabourn Odyssey leaves behind. This final voyage promises to be a magical 'full circle' experience, brimming with emotion and sweet surprises, as we bid farewell to our beloved ship."

Potgieter echoes Barron's sentiment, "What a beautiful 'full-circle' Seabourn Moment for us both. Seabourn Odyssey is really where my journey with Seabourn started, and it feels like I'm coming back home. It will be an incredibly special voyage, and I am very excited to share this final chapter with our many loyal guests, amazing onboard team and colleagues, Belinda King and John."

The farewell voyage will offer special entertainment and activities, including:

Belinda King of Belinda King Creative Productions - Belinda King, founder and CEO of Belinda King Creative Productions which produces the finest shows at sea, will join Seabourn's cruise directors for a special walk down memory lane, as well as a Seabourn Conversation Q&A that delves into "The World Behind Seabourn Entertainment".

Bespoke Acts by Guest Performers – The sailing will feature a number of guest performers, including piano entertainer Roy Tan and vocalist Corlea Botha, magician Mark Haslam, cellist Andre Cavassi, pianist Aisa Ijiri, and violinist Irina Guskova.

Seabourn Conversation speakers – A number of distinguished guest speakers as part of its Seabourn Conversations program are scheduled, including NASA Astronaut Heidemarie Piper, award-winning photographer Michael Yamashita, author and chef Maria Finn, marine scientist Dr. Dave Plourd, and maritime historian Dr. Tim Runyan.

Artist in Residence Program – Seabourn invites guests to join artist Donna Lewis for the ship's complimentary Artist in Residence mixed media classes inspired by the ports of call visited by Seabourn Odyssey. The class will allow guests to develop a wonderful memory of their voyage to take home. Classes are open to all ages and levels of expertise and beginners are welcome. Materials are provided on board.

Seabourn Odyssey's farewell voyage will also feature other special activities, including a signature caviar event and more. During the 22-day Farewell Voyage, Seabourn Odyssey will traverse the glacial scenery of Alaska's southern reaches, visit the wildlife havens of Kodiak Island and Dutch Harbor, and explore the cultural enclaves of Japan's Hokkaido Island to revel in the first turn of fall foliage.

Seabourn Odyssey will visit 11 ports and destinations, including five in Japan across two islands. Highlights include the following:

• Kodiak Island: With two-thirds of the island covered by a national wildlife refuge, Kodiak is the ultimate escape with large stretches of private wilderness and beaches to enjoy and reflect. Guests may want to catch a glimpse of the island's eponymous bears or enjoy Fort Abercrombie and step into Kodiak's World War II defense encampment and military museum.

• Hubbard Glacier - Cruising the Hubbard Glacier is the quintessential Alaska experience as you navigate past towering icy walls and feel the rumble of the glacial calving. The Hubbard is North America's longest tidewater glacier and continues to impress as she "gallops" forward and continues to grow.

• Hakodate, Japan - One of Hokkaido's largest cities, Seabourn Odyssey will arrive just in time to see start of Japan's fall foliage. A key highlight here is a gondola ride to the top of Mount Hakodate to take in the city vistas and enjoy a sample of Hokkaido's extraordinary natural beauty.

During her 15 years at Seabourn, Seabourn Odyssey has welcomed 180,454 guests on board and traveled over 859,554 nautical miles to 426 different ports, a distance equivalent to a staggering 39.7 circumnavigations of the world's equator. Along the way, the ship has become synonymous with ultra-luxury and excellence, serving up to 4 tons of caviar and 13 million breadsticks and pouring more than 300,000 bottles of champagne.

First Celebrity Cruises Guests Enjoy Perfect Day at Cococay
Celebrity Cruises guests visited Perfect Day at CocoCay, the number one destination in Royal Caribbean Group, for the first time, traveling aboard Celebrity Reflection Monday, April 22nd and Celebrity BeyondSM Tuesday, April 23rd. The award-winning private destination introduced by sister brand Royal Caribbean International is part of Celebrity Cruises' new short Caribbean itinerary offerings.

"Guest feedback inspired the new shorter Caribbean itineraries, designed to offer year-round opportunities to unwind with loved ones," said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. "Introducing Perfect Day at CocoCay presents new experiences for Celebrity guests seeking quick beach getaway escapes close to home."

Perfect Day at CocoCay offers Celebrity Cruises guests the opportunity to enjoy a unique, adults-only beachfront experience, Hideaway BeachSM, with a DJ, four bars and island-inspired eateries. At Coco Beach Club guests can take a dip in the beachfront infinity pool, indulge in a top-notch dining experience or soak up endless views of blue with the first Overwater Cabanas in the Bahamas complete with overwater hammocks, an individual slide into the crystal-clear waters below and plenty of inclusive amenities. Day passes to Coco Beach Club include access to an exclusive private beach, the clubhouse, the infinity pool, beach chairs and towels, and complimentary dining at the Coco Beach Club restaurant.

Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Beyond will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay on five-night Western Caribbean sailings, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Western Caribbean itineraries also include calls to sun-soaked destinations Bimini, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Key West.

Construction Begins on Royal Caribbean's First Royal Beach Club
Royal Caribbean International and The Bahamas marked the start of a new adventure today as the cruise line broke ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, the 17-acre beach day experience on Paradise Island in Nassau, The Bahamas. The beginning of construction was celebrated on location, where Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley were joined by The Bahamas' Prime Minister Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister I. Chester Cooper to commemorate the major milestone.

The first of the Royal Beach Club Collection will take shape in the coming months ahead of its opening in 2025, and at the heart of the experience will be the island nation of The Bahamas. From the location – one of the island's most idyllic beaches – to the Bahamian food, culture and staff, to a unique public-private partnership in which Bahamians will own up to 49% equity, the all-new beach club combines the beauty and spirit of The Bahamas with signature Royal Caribbean touches across the experience, service and design.

"With the signing of this Heads of Agreement for the development of Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, we embark on this project to further enhance the vitality of our tourism product. Signing today's agreement, we add another world-class experience to our tourism offerings. And even more importantly, we take a bold step toward greater Bahamian empowerment in the tourism industry," said Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas.

Vacationers will be welcomed to their ultimate beach day at Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, starting with the vibrant and charming local architecture crafted by a local Bahamian architectural firm and the exceptional views of The Bahamas' renowned turquoise waters and white sand beaches. With more details to be revealed in the coming months, what's in store ranges from three stunning pools with swim-up bars to private cabanas, four island-style spots for quick bites and local fare, and experiences that feature local artisans and live music.

"Marking more than the beginning of the construction process, today's groundbreaking event symbolizes partnership, momentum and continued economic development for so many Bahamian entrepreneurs and the entire community," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "We are grateful to our partners for their support, especially the Bahamian government, who stand with us here today in celebration of what is to come."

Local businesses and entrepreneurs will also manage parts of the construction and experience, which will generate hundreds of jobs in the short and long term. To date, Bahamians have participated in workshops to develop authentic local dishes, music, entertainment, sports and activities as well as design ideas that reflect the true Bahamian spirit and style.

"As we break ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, together with the government and the people of The Bahamas, we are celebrating what partnership and innovation can achieve. This will be yet one more reason, in Nassau's bright future, to experience a destination we have visited since the very beginning of Royal Caribbean more than 50 years ago," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "The beauty and charm of the island are why we chose to debut the Royal Beach Club Collection in Nassau, and with the collaboration and support of local entrepreneurs and the wider community, we know that what we create will far exceed everything we imagined."

The construction plans, created in close collaboration with the Bahamian government, also include the cruise line's restoration of the native habitat that will help protect wildlife during the build and for many years to come. Guiding the overall development of the beach club experience are Royal Caribbean Group's sustainability vision and proven practices as well as The Bahamas' stringent environmental protection and planning process.

Once complete, Royal Beach Club Paradise Island is expected to host an average of 2,000 guests. Vacationers will access the beach club via a ferry ride from the Nassau Cruise Port and return through historic downtown Nassau near the world-famous Straw Market.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.28 + 1.562%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 131.99 + 3.79%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 18.54 + 6.92%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which classic liner included among her amenities: 20 dog kennels - each carpeted with running water - and a replica New York City fire hydrant for her canine passengers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Holland America Line stablished its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969. courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont MA, USA


Cruise News - April 15, 2024

Princess Cruises Rolls Out Fleetwide Dining Changes
Princess Cruises today announced it is making a significant enhancement to the main dining options found across its fleet, designed to give guests the ultimate in flexibility and choice when it comes to their dining experience by offering three table service options – Traditional, Reservable, or Walk-in Anytime - coupled with the brand's industry exclusive OceanNow location-based "anywhere" service.

With a dedication to personal preference and individualized service, Princess will designate separate dining rooms aboard every ship in the fleet* to the three table service options – one dedicated to traditional dining offering an early and a late seating every evening; one offering reservable dining times; and a third with open seating to support walk-ins anytime. The three table service options integrate with the line's unparalleled OceanNow, which provides guests the convenience of ordering anything, anytime, and receiving it anywhere onboard, making Princess uniquely positioned to accommodate all guest dining preferences.

Making all dining formats available fleetwide follows the resounding success of this new approach already implemented aboard the new Sun Princess. With the stunning introduction of the new next level Love Boat came the debut of three-story dining room with one floor dedicated to traditional dining, another serving guests with a flexible reservation and a third for anytime walk-ins.

"Our guests have been delighted with the dining flexibility aboard Sun Princess and we're pleased to extend the concept to all the other ships in our fleet," said Sami Kohen, Princess Cruises vice president of food and beverage. "Now whether guests prefer an early seating every evening, or change things up every night, or even change their mind, these flexible dining options ensure that their dining preference is effortlessly accommodated."

Starting on April 15, 2024, the new approach will launch on Princess voyages departing September 14, 2024 and beyond. To support these changes and the transition to the new system, main dining reservations that already have been made for voyages sailing September 14 and beyond for any ship except Sun Princess will be cancelled. Main dining reservations for guests sailing through September 13 will not be affected.

Starting June 17, booked guests will be able to use the app ahead of their voyage to opt for traditional seating in a dedicated dining room with the same waiter, same table and same time each night, or flexible dining, allowing them to enjoy dinner at any available time and table size of their choosing in either the Reservable or Open Seating dining rooms.

This change does not affect guests booked in specialty dining restaurants or suite or reserve collection accommodations, who enjoy a dedicated dining room on Princess ships, where no reservations are required.

Carnival Captain and Team Recognized for Heroic Rescue That Saved 16 Lives
Carnival Cruise Line Captain Niccolo De Ranieri and his team on Mardi Gras were honored Tuesday evening by the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) for saving the lives of 16 people.

De Ranieri accepted the Cruise Ship Humanitarian Assistance Award at the AFRAS annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., an event that recognizes heroism at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, merchant mariners and cruise ship personnel.

Captain De Ranieri was at the helm as Mardi Gras was returning to its homeport, Port Canaveral, Fla., on June 3, 2022 when the crew spotted a stranded vessel carrying eleven men and five women in rough seas near Cuba.

In very challenging conditions, as the ship was navigating away from an approaching hurricane, the Mardi Gras team took the 16 stranded people on board for their safety where they were evaluated by the ship’s medical staff and provided food and clothing as a safe transfer with the U.S. Coast Guard was coordinated.

“Receiving this award is a humbling reminder of the responsibility we have as mariners. I’m proud of my team’s brave and coordinated efforts during this rescue,” said Captain De Ranieri. “It’s an honor to be recognized, and I’m thankful those 16 people were brought to safety.”

It is a maritime custom to help anyone in distress at sea. In 2023, Carnival teams completed six separate rescues, helping to bring 57 stranded people to safety.

NCL Unveils All-new Culinary Experiences to Debut Aboard Norwegian Aqua
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, today revealed fresh, new culinary and beverage experiences debuting aboard Norwegian Aqua, the Company's next evolution new build and first vessel of the expanded Prima Plus Class, setting sail in April 2025.

In line with the Company's commitment to delivering the ultimate vacation experience, Norwegian Aqua will boast three brand-new onboard offerings including Sukhothai, NCL's first-ever Thai specialty restaurant; Swirl Wine Bar, a new, upscale wine bar; and Planterie, the Brand's first dedicated eatery offering a full plant-based menu; in addition to returning guest favorites.

"Discovering new flavors and dining experiences is such a memorable part of any vacation, especially when you share it with those who matter most to you," said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. "Expanding on our award-winning food and beverage program, we're looking forward to bringing new concepts to life aboard Norwegian Aqua, while continuing to deliver on the variety of available offerings and value that NCL delivers."

Brand-New Culinary and Bar Experiences

Making its debut on the all-new Norwegian Aqua is Sukhothai, the Company's first-ever Thai specialty restaurant, featuring an eclectic menu with authentic, traditional offerings with creative, dynamic flavors. Guests can look forward to a new spin on traditional staples, such as Thai Cashew Chicken; Salt and Pepper Prawns; Thai Grilled Steak Salad; a variety of complementing curries and so much more. Décor imagined by the London-based SMC Design firm, the upscale dining venue will boast a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary Thai design elements. When guests walk into Sukhothai on deck 17, they will be greeted with a warm, inviting atmosphere of bamboo and rice paper pendant lights; a striking geometric patterned floor; and colorful furniture transporting diners to the culturally rich country of Thailand.

At the returning guest-favorite Indulge Food Hall, a new eatery, Planterie, will offer plant-based bowls and other healthy options. Located on deck eight, Planterie's menu will include dishes such as the Southwest Bowl with smoked tempeh and the Mediterranean Goddess Bowl filled with delicious, spiced vegetables, tabbouleh and honey-roasted carrots. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, Indulge Food Hall will boast a brand-new design by New York-based firm, Rockwell Group, with 10 food stations drawing inspiration from international food marketplaces from around the world. Notable architectural features include deep wood accents; gold and metal furnishings; and warm yet colorful tones that flow seamlessly throughout the venue.

Also premiering aboard Norwegian Aqua is Swirl Wine Bar, a contemporary wine lounge that strikes the perfect balance between exclusivity and approachability for a unique, intimate experience tucked away on deck six between the popular Whiskey Bar and Hasuki, the hibachi-style restaurant. The hidden enclave will feature a comprehensive wine-by-the-glass menu, and an extensive list of rare and premium vintages. Designed by the Miami-based Studio DADO firm, the venue's architecture is inspired by the captivating beauty and curvature of the geologically stunning Antelope Canyon in Arizona, with warm color hues complemented by cascading horizontal lines and serene blue touches create a perfectly inviting and enchanting space for guests to unwind.

Elevated, Redesigned Venues

From new designs to expanded seating, the all-new Norwegian Aqua will feature enhanced restaurants and lounges previously debuted on the Prima Class. From the creative minds of Studio DADO, one of the ship's main complimentary dining rooms, the Commodore Room, will now feature a rustic yet luxurious design inspired by its sea-faring namesake. Paying homage to the imaginative narrative of the captain's room, the venue will transport guests to the past times of maritime sophistication with antique wood furnishings; leather banquettes; floors that mimic the lines of a pier; and incredible stone accents, all with a delicate, modern touch.

Metropolitan, NCL's modern Sail & Sustain cocktail bar, which won the 2024 Vibe Vista Award for "Best Beverage Program," will return aboard Norwegian Aqua and boast a distinct new design from other Prima Class vessels. Relocating from mid-ship to the aft of deck seven, the innovative bar will now feature a grand piano and a small entertainment space for guests to enjoy live music with their Sail & Sustain cocktails, biodynamic wines and sustainably produced liquors. Inspired by the art deco and mid-century modern areas of New York City, Studio DADO crafted an intimate enclave with dark hues, eye-catching motifs and fresh greenery offering an easy-going ambience for guests engaging in a nightly beverage.

Nama Sushi and Sashimi, which first debuted on Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, will now feature a fresh, lively design by Studio DADO aboard Norwegian Aqua. Introducing a new color palette, the space draws inspiration from the vibrant world of Manga art. Guests can expect a playful dining experience surrounded by bold colors of lime green and black.

Located on deck 17, Surfside Café will boast floor-to-ceiling windows, providing guests with scenic views as they enjoy an expansive and diverse buffet-style dining experience. Featuring a new design by London-based design firm, A.D. Associates, the three-meal a day venue will showcase warm colors, sunset tones and timeless color palettes. Next door, offering the same panoramic views as Surfside Café, the upscale, Mediterranean seafood dining venue of the Prima Class, Palomar, will feature an elevated design with natural materials, such as rope and wood accents complemented by pops of blue and dark purple shades.

Aboard Norwegian Aqua, Whiskey Bar will relocate to deck six near the brand-new Swirl Wine Bar, while Belvedere Bar will move to deck eight at the heart of the atrium, where guests can revel in night caps and nightly entertainment.

Penrose Bar and Waves Pool Bar will also feature new designs, and venues such as The Local Bar & Grill, NCL's 24-hour pub-style restaurant, Hasuki, a lively Japanese hibachi experience, and Cagney's, NCL's signature upscale American steakhouse, will be expanded to accommodate even more guests.

Returning Guest-Favorites

In addition to unveiling new food and beverage experiences and designs, guest-favorite restaurants will return to Norwegian Aqua such as Hudson's, the elevated, main complimentary dining room offering 270° of scenic views; Le Bistro, the high-end French restaurant inspired by the Palace of Versailles; Los Lobos, the contemporary, authentic Mexican dining venue with outdoor seating; and Onda by Scarpetta, the upscale Italian restaurant, which also offers al fresco dining on Ocean Boulevard.

Windstar Cruises Welcomes Two New Ships to Fleet Including First Star Class Newbuild
Windstar Cruises, a leader in small-ship luxury cruising, is excited to announce the expansion of its fleet with the addition of two all-suite motor yachts, Star Seeker and Star Explorer. The first of the two ships, new-build Star Seeker which is currently being constructed in the WestSEA shipyard, is expected to be delivered in December of 2025, followed by Star Explorer in December, 2026.

"Our goal was to ensure these ships are unmistakably Windstar, and a significant amount of effort has gone into achieving this," says Windstar Cruises' President Christopher Prelog. "We are thrilled for this expansion, building on the success of our game-changing Star Class in small-ship cruising with guests and travel partners, while offering new experiences. This growth reflects the dedication of our incredible crew and team, allowing us to broaden our destination portfolio and even bring one of our Wind Class sail ships back to Tahiti."

Each ship has 112 suites, featuring full private verandas and infinity windows, ensuring unparalleled views for every guest onboard. Additionally, two new Owner's Suites with wrap-around balconies have been added to the aft of the ship, perfect for evening cocktails or a private dinner. With a capacity for 224 guests and a staff to guest ratio of 1:2, the ships maintain an intimate atmosphere, ensuring personalized service at every turn.

Guests will also enjoy access to several newly added Windstar guest favorites, including the brand's iconic Watersports Platform with all-new staircase access, the cozy Yacht Club café and lounge, a two-story spa and fitness facility, an intimate forward whirlpool on the bow, and a spacious open deck perfect for sunbathing and Windstar's famous deck barbeques.

As the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF), Windstar's commitment to exceptional cuisine will continue to be a priority for the guest experience. The re-imagined main dining room, Amphora, will serve a variety of upscale and inventive dishes, including rotating items from James Beard Foundation–affiliated guest chefs. Al fresco dining will now be available at both Amphora and the Star Grill. A no-charge specialty restaurant and 24-hr room service rounds out the four dining options.

Star Seeker and Star Explorer both have ice-strengthened hulls, unlocking access to new destinations. The ships are equipped with the latest technology in safety, propulsion, and navigation, including pump jet thrusters and forward-facing Sonar. To minimize their environmental footprint and uphold the brand's commitment to sustainability, the ships have tier III Nox rated Rolls Royce engines and can connect to shore power minimizing port emissions. In addition, the ships have advanced wastewater treatment systems that meet all global standards. Every aspect of their design reflects the company's ongoing commitment to preserving the environment while providing unforgettable experiences to travelers.

Andrew N. Todd, President & CEO of parent company Xanterra Travel Collection said, "As part of our company's expanding portfolio, Windstar Cruises is poised for remarkable growth and an exciting future ahead. We're excited about the possibilities of where Windstar will sail and the opportunities it brings our officers, crew and staff, and our guests."

The expansion also allows Windstar to bring back one of its beloved Wind Class ships, Wind Star, to Tahiti, where it will join Star Breeze in 2027, adding more capacity to meet the growing demand for French Polynesian sailings. With more than 36 years' experience operating cruises in French Polynesia and a longtime guest favorite, travelers will now have a choice between sailing among the islands on a Wind or Star Class ship.

Full itineraries and booking details for Star Seeker will be announced in late June 2024.

A New Summer Anthem Makes Its Way to Australia in 2025-26
A summer of memory making is on the horizon with Royal Caribbean International’s newly revealed 2025-2026 line-up from Australia. Holidaymakers have action-packed adventures in store, from shorter and bolder getaways to the Down Under debut of Anthem of the Seas in Sydney and Voyager of the Seas’ long-awaited return when it arrives to its new home in Brisbane, Australia. The new line-up of 45 long and short getaways to the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, sailing between November 2025 and April 2026, are now open for bookings on Royal Caribbean’s website.

Royal Caribbean’s vice president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand, Gavin Smith, said: “Between the excitement of Anthem of the Seas making its Australian debut, Voyager’s return Down Under and more weekend getaways than ever before, the 2025-2026 summer season is one for the books. Every kind of holidaymaker can make memories in more ways than one with a varied line-up, from short getaways to a longer sailing from Asia, and new experiences like the show-stopping ‘We Will Rock You’ musical production, ice-skating shows and six exclusive family adventures created by Royal Caribbean and the Wiggly Friends.”

Anthem of the Seas – From Sydney

New to Australia, Anthem is the latest ship from Royal Caribbean to make its Down Under debut when it arrives to Sydney in November 2025. Adventurers can choose from 24 holidays, ranging from 3-to 18-nights, to explore top destinations across rugged New Zealand, the sunny Australian coast and the idyllic islands of the South Pacific.

On deck are more short getaways than ever before. With five 2- to 4-night coastal cruises, travellers can pack in more thrills – and memories – as they make the most of every day while at sea with family and friends, or they can enjoy a 5-night getaway that visits Hobart, Australia. Travellers can also relax on longer 9- to 12-night cruises to New Zealand, including a pair of festive 9- and 11-night sailings for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Holidaymakers can look forward to adventures for all ages on Anthem, which include returning experiences from Quantum and Ovation of the Seas – like skydiving on RipCord by iFly, SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea; Latin-themed club Boleros, the English pub with pints from across the globe; and a variety of restaurants serving up a world of flavours, such as family-style Tuscan favourites at Jamie’s Italian. Sydney’s new hometown ship also brings world-class entertainment centre stage, with Royal Caribbean’s rendition of the Olivier Award-winning musical phenomenon “We Will Rock You”, featuring Queen’s iconic hits; and American treats – such as shakes, burgers and more – from the retro-themed Johnny Rockets.

Voyager of the Seas – From Brisbane, Australia

Voyager will sail from Brisbane for the first time from December 2025, with 20 holidays to choose from and a new destination in the line-up – Luganville, Vanuatu. Travellers can also take their pick of more ways to play in the South Pacific by choosing from a series of 7- to 9-night sunny escapes to Noumea, New Caledonia, and Port Vila, Luganville and Mystery Island, Vanuatu, which includes two 8- and 9-night cruises over Christmas and the New Year.

For holidaymakers seeking a longer escape, they can choose a unique 12-night adventure from Singapore to Australia in December. The destinations in store include Benoa, Bali, and Darwin and Airlie Beach, Australia. Plus, there are as many as 10 shorter 4-, 6- and 7-night holidays that visit Airlie Beach and Cairns, Australia, on the sun-drenched coast of Queensland.

There is a variety of ways for everyone to play on Voyager, including racing family and friends on The Perfect Storm, three storeys of two high-speed waterslides with twisting turns and thrills; ice skating at Studio B, putting at mini golf; and competing in glow-in-the-dark laser tag at Battle for Planet Z. Lighting up the stage and night is jaw-dropping entertainment like “Ice Odyssey”, where professional ice skaters bring the magic and mystery of tarot cards to life, and famous Broadway show tunes in “Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme”.

The Ultimate Wiggly Adventure

The summer also brings the debut of six Wiggly Sailings, exclusive to Royal Caribbean and featuring the Wiggly Friends, across Anthem and Voyager. Bringing the ultimate family holiday to life is the combination of signature Royal Caribbean family experiences and the excitement and adventures of The Wiggles that inspire wonder and discovery. Young kids and their loved ones can look forward to character events, live concerts, exclusive Royal Caribbean x The Wiggles merchandise and more.

Cunard's Solar Eclipse at Sea offers Prime Viewing for 2026
The captivating spectacle of this week's solar eclipse has left viewers in awe, with many already looking forward to the next celestial event on August 12, 2026.

Cunard announced that three of its Queens – flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and the company's newest ship launching this May, Queen Anne – will be positioned in extraordinary destinations directly along the path of the next solar eclipse.

Queen Mary 2 will embark on a 14-night voyage through Norway and Iceland, August 4-18, 2026 providing guests the rare opportunity to witness the wonderous solar eclipse during an overnight stay in Reykjavik on the evening of August 12. Viewing the eclipse from Iceland will offer a unique, immersive experience as the country's dramatic landscapes will provide a striking backdrop to this inspiring event.

This unforgettable journey will include visits to the picturesque towns of Zeebrugge, Belgium; Olden and Skjolden, Norway; and Isafjordur, Iceland, before disembarking in New York. Travelers will be treated to the serene beauty of the tranquil fjords, thundering waterfalls, and breathtaking scenery across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Queen Anne will traverse Spain and France on a seven-night itinerary roundtrip out of Southampton, England. From August 9-16, 2026, guests can indulge in the exotic Spanish ports of Santander, La Coruña, and Gijon, before stopping in the Bay of Biscay to explore the charming town of Pauillac, France. After a day spent strolling the Spanish streets in La Coruña's Old Town, passengers can sip cocktails and don sunglasses for an unparalleled view of the phenomenon from the deck of Queen Anne, as the ship sets sail from the Spanish harbor.

Queen Victoria will sail a seven-night Western Mediterranean voyage, from Civitavecchia (near Rome, Italy) to Barcelona, Spain from Aug 10-17, 2026, visiting Tarragona and Palma de Mallorca in Spain, plus Villefranche and Toulon in France. On August 12, after guests spend the day in the historic town of Tarragona home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they will board Queen Victoria to choose the perfect spot for viewing the solar eclipse. With expansive deck space, outdoor pools, and multiple open-air bars, passengers will be able to luxuriate while enjoying the ideal vantage point to witness this rare phenomenon. As the eclipse casts its ethereal glow over the Mediterranean, travelers will find themselves immersed in a moment of awe and wonder, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

"Watching a total solar eclipse from sea is an utterly unique and very rare experience," Katie McAlister, president of Cunard. "Cunard is therefore thrilled to offer three remarkable voyages positioned along the path of the 2026 eclipse – two in the Mediterranean and one in Iceland – which will give guests the chance to witness this extraordinary phenomenon from the water, an unforgettable moment observed from the luxurious vantage point of our Queens."

Carnival Corporation & plc Announces Maritime Executive Changes
Carnival Corporation & plc, today announced that Vice Admiral William R. Burke (Ret.), Chief Maritime Officer for the company, has advised that he will be stepping down from the role effective February 1, 2025. At that time, Lars Ljoen, currently Chief Operations Officer for the company's flagship Carnival Cruise Line brand, will be promoted to Chief Maritime Officer of Carnival Corporation & plc, overseeing all aspects of maritime operations for the corporation and its portfolio of world-class cruise lines and reporting to Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Executive Officer Josh Weinstein. Ljoen will also be responsible for strategic destination development and will oversee management of the company's owned and operated ports.

A 25-year cruise industry veteran, Ljoen is a trusted leader with a distinguished tenure of achievement in senior-level sea command and shore management roles. As Chief Operations Officer for Carnival Cruise Line, Ljoen oversees all aspects of Carnival's marine operations, including nautical and technical operations, environmental compliance, and safety protocols. He also leads port operations, guest operations, food and beverage services, onboard revenue, entertainment, and crew and travel operations.

"Lars is the obvious choice for this vital role, given his deep knowledge of our industry, his pedigree of success in key senior-level positions in the company, and his ability to consistently deliver operational excellence and business results for our largest global cruise line," said Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Executive Officer. "Notably, his leadership during one of the most challenging times in our industry helped Carnival Cruise Line successfully navigate the operational pause and quickly reclaim its title as the world's largest and most popular cruise line – an important driver of our company comeback.

"As we remain laser focused on achieving our carbon and emissions reductions goals and maintaining our leadership in safety and environmental best practices, Lars will bring his tremendous knowledge to build upon the legacy that Bill has established during his tenure," he said.

Prior to Carnival Cruise Line, Ljoen served with Carnival Corporation's Costa Group since 2015, initially as senior vice president and then promoted to executive vice president and managing director in 2016. At Costa Group, which at the time included Costa Cruises and AIDA, Ljoen was responsible for Carnival Maritime, the marine service unit of the group, as well as fleet governance, marine projects, and continuous improvement.

Previously Ljoen headed business strategy development for Ceres Marine Terminals (NYK Ports) and was director of marine operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. He began his career on supply vessels and shuttle tankers in the North Sea offshore industry.

"I'm honored to step into the Chief Maritime Officer role and eager to build on Bill's remarkable foundation of operational excellence and write the next important chapter," said Ljoen. "I look forward to applying my experience and skills to an even bigger platform to ensure the company's continued success."

Bert Hernandez Named Brand President of Silversea
Today, Royal Caribbean Group announced that Barbara Muckermann will depart Royal Caribbean Group after 14 years with Silversea to pursue other opportunities, and effective today, Bert Hernandez will succeed her as president of Silversea.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Barbara since 2018 when Silversea joined Royal Caribbean Group, first in her role as chief marketing and commercial officer and later as brand president," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Barbara has helped position Silversea as the world's top ultra-luxury and expedition cruise line, and the brand further solidified its leadership with the official inauguration of Silver Nova earlier this year, a ship hailed as ushering in a new era of luxury at sea."

"I would also like to congratulate Bert on his appointment as the next brand president of Silversea," Liberty added. "With deep industry knowledge, experience in markets around the world, and past leadership of a luxury cruise line, I know Bert is well positioned to chart a smart course for Silversea's continued growth and success. At Royal Caribbean Group, we are committed to delivering the very best experiences in the ultra-luxury and expedition space, and I am confident in Bert's ability to find opportunities to take the brand to the next level."

Most recently serving as senior vice president, international, Bert has been with the Royal Caribbean Group for the past 20 years and brings to the role tremendous commercial and operational experience. In his current role, Bert works with his team to further position Royal Caribbean International as the vacation brand of choice, across a wide range of travel preferences in more than 80 countries. He also served as president of China operations for Royal Caribbean International, where he built the brand into China's leading cruise line. Notably, he was chief operating officer for the Group's former luxury cruise line, Azamara, delivering the line's most profitable year while it was part of the Royal Caribbean family of brands.

"I have long admired the wonderful brand that Barbara and team have built over 30 years and respect how they have been driven to create the most unique and memorable experiences in travel," said Bert Hernandez. "The opportunity to lead and grow such a beloved brand is a great honor, and I couldn't be more excited to work with the experienced Silversea leadership team. The future of the brand has never been brighter as we continue the tradition of delivering best-in class experiences with the arrival of Silver Ray later this year."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.06 - 10.22%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.17 - 8.04%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.34 - 10.57%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Most people know that Cunard's Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth served as troopships during World War II. Which two cruise ships served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982?

Answer - Cunard's Transatlantic liner the s/s Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's liner Canberra were both requisitioned by the British government for service as troopships during the Falklands War in 1982. courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont MA, USA


Cruise News - April 8, 2024

Hannah Waddingham to Serve as Godmother of Sun Princess
Award-winning actress and performer Hannah Waddingham will serve the time-honored, maritime tradition as the official Godmother of Princess Cruises' newest "Love Boat" Sun Princess. The star-studded naming ceremony will take place at the Port of Barcelona on April 23, 2024.

Waddingham joins an esteemed group who have served as Godparent to Princess ships: Diana, Princess of Wales (Royal Princess, 1984), Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales (Royal Princess, 2013); Audrey Hepburn (Star Princess, 1989); Sophia Loren (Crown Princess, 1990); Martha Stewart (Crown Princess, 2006), among many notable celebrities.

British actress and singer, Waddingham is beloved for her role as Rebecca Welton in Apple TV+'s "Ted Lasso," in which her performance garnered a Primetime Emmy, Critics Choice Television Award and Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as two individual Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. She will next be seen in the highly anticipated Universal film "The Fall Guy" opposite Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in theaters on May 3, 2024. Earlier this year, Waddingham earned a BAFTA TV Award nomination for her own Apple TV+ holiday special "Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas." Waddingham made her worldwide hosting debut in April 2023 at The Olivier Awards (she returns as host for the 2024 ceremony on April 14) followed swiftly by the BBC Eurovision Song Contest 2023, for which she has gained her second BAFTA TV nomination and won The Royal Television Society award for "Best Entertainment Performance" in 2024. Her upcoming films include Sony Animation film "Garfield" out May 24, 2024 and in 2025 "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two."

"We're delighted to welcome the illuminous and elegant Hannah Waddingham to serve as Godmother for our sensational new Sun Princess," said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. "Just like Sun Princess, she exudes sophistication, beauty and wonderment through her inspiring work as a talented and award-winning actress and performer. We're truly honored Hannah will officially name our most impressive, luxurious and stunning Love Boat ever created, and join an esteemed group of Princess Godparents including members of the Royal family."

The new 177,882-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess introduces an innovative new ship platform designed exclusively for the world's most iconic cruise brand. A true engineering marvel, Sun Princess officially started the inaugural cruise season on February 28, 2024, and currently is sailing a series of Mediterranean voyages before debuting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in October for the ship's first Caribbean season.

Princess ships are renowned for offering spacious venues and Sun Princess takes that to the next level. Sun Princess debuts new eye-catching experience venues including The Dome, a groundbreaking geodesic, glass-enclosed structure at the top of the ship inspired by the terraces of Santorini. The outward and suspended Sphere Atrium, the namesake of this new class of ship, takes the central Piazza hub of the ship into a new dimension. Here guests are enveloped with expansive ocean views and an open concept, inspired to deliver the desired lifestyle of relaxed indoor and outdoor living.

Sun Princess offers an extraordinary cruise experience with not-to-be-missed culinary, entertainment and luxury accommodations, including:

Sun Princess serves up 30 inviting restaurant and bar venues with an unprecedented collection of celebrity collaborators, high-end ingredients and culinary experiences from:

• Spellbound by Magic Castle: Blending the captivating world of magic with the art of culinary and mixology to create an extraordinary, innovative and immersive dining experience, steeped in magic and adventure.

• Makoto Ocean: Reshaping traditional sushi with a creative approach, the Master of Edomae-style sushi, Chef Makoto Okuwa brings his 25 years of experience with a new concept crafting playful, exquisitely presented dishes paying tribute to Japanese traditions.

• Love by Britto: A high-end boutique restaurant with the most romantic view from the ship celebrating love and art from world-renowned artist Romero Britto.

• The Butcher's Block by Dario: A new specialty pop-up restaurant from the world's most famous butcher Dario Cecchini, guests enjoy perfectly prepared beef and steak, including Cecchini's signature cuts.

• The Catch by Rudi: An exceptional dinner concept from renowned Chef Rudi Sodamin showcasing delectable treasures from the sea.

• Good Spirits at Sea with Rob Floyd: Destination-inspired, one-of-a-kind cocktail creations from celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd.

Debuting a three-story dining room with endless aft views, inaugural menus have been created in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America. While retaining what guests love about Princess, the ship also features favorites like Crown Grill, Sabatini's and Crooners with new design elements to impress.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Unveils Plans to Order Eight New Ships for Three Brands from Fincantieri
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today unveiled the most comprehensive new build order in its history—a total of eight state-of-the-art vessels, representing nearly 25,000 additional berths, with new classes of ships for each of its three award-winning brands—and the construction of a multi-ship pier at Great Stirrup Cay, the Company’s private island destination in the Bahamas and its top-rated Caribbean port of call. This unprecedented decade-long strategy enhances its product offering, guest experiences, and operational infrastructure, supporting the Company’s sustained leadership in delivering innovative cruise vacations.

The new ship orders across all three brands are scheduled for delivery over a ten-year period, between 2026 and 2036. Following the delivery of four Prima-Plus class ships from 2025 through 2028, Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to take delivery of four approximately 200,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of nearly 5,000 guests, in 2030, 2032, 2034 and 2036, which are subject to financing.

Building on the success of its Allura Class ships, the last one being delivered in 2025, Oceania Cruises is scheduled to take delivery of two 86,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of 1,450 guests in 2027 and 2029. Lastly, following the award-winning Explorer Class ships, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is scheduled to take delivery of two 77,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of 850 guests, in 2026 and 2029. Details regarding the ships’ amenities, staterooms, dining, recreational, efficiency, sustainability and other features will be announced in the coming months.

"This strategic new-ship order across all three of our award-winning brands provides for the steady introduction of cutting-edge vessels into our fleet and solidifies our long-term growth. It also allows us to significantly leverage our operating scale, strengthen our commitment to innovation and enhance our ability to offer our guests new products and experiences, all while providing opportunities to enhance the efficiency of our fleet,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are likewise excited with the addition of a new pier at Great Stirrup Cay to support our increased capacity in the Caribbean and multiple ships to call on the island, enhancing our guest experience and bringing seamless and reliable access to our private island year-round.”

In partnership with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, each brand will design their new ship class and focus on creating the largest, most efficient, and innovative vessels of their respective fleet. Aligning with the Company’s sustainability efforts, the new ship designs are expected to advance the journey towards decarbonization.

"Over the years, our long-standing relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has been rooted in a shared vision for the future of maritime travel, consistently setting new standards for innovation, luxury, sustainability, and guest satisfaction in the cruise industry,” said Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO and Managing Director at Fincantieri. “We are thrilled to work on these new build orders and deliver emblematic cruise ships that will embody our shared legacy of excellence for generations to come.”

The Company has obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of each of the two Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships, subject to certain conditions. The ship orders for Norwegian Cruise Line remain subject to financing, currently underway.

Mark A. Kempa, chief financial officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, commented, “we expect that these strategic investments will secure our growth trajectory, significantly boost our earnings profile, and enhance shareholder value well into the future. With a favorable payment structure that includes pre-delivery financing and modest initial installment payments for these ship orders, we still anticipate strong Net Leverage reduction of 1.5 turns by the end of 2024, relative to 2023, and expect the Company to continue reducing Net Leverage each year for the foreseeable future.”

New Pier Development at Great Stirrup Cay

The new pier development at the Company’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, is slated to break ground in summer 2024 and be completed by late 2025 with an investment of approximately $150 million. The new pier will be constructed to simultaneously accommodate two large vessels of the Company’s current and future ship classes. The pier development will enhance the guest experience on Great Stirrup Cay, and along with Harvest Caye, the Company’s private island in Belize, continue to provide guests with world-class destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

MSC Cruises and Chantiers De L'atlantique Mark Two Important Milestones
MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l'Atlantique marked two important milestones today in the construction of the innovative World Class ships, MSC World America and MSC World Asia, during a press conference at Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami.

MSC World America celebrated a major milestone with the completion of its float out ceremony at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France on Sunday, April 7, 2024. The ultramodern flagship is now in her final phase of construction and will be officially named on April 9, 2025 at MSC Cruises' new state-of-the-art PortMiami terminal, followed by a celebratory sailing to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Ocean Cay is the cruise line's private island in The Bahamas, is home to the MSC Foundation's Super Coral Program, and has been designated a 'Hope Spot' by Mission Blue.

Meanwhile, the steel-cutting ceremony for the company's third World Class ship marked the start of that vessel's construction. MSC Cruises revealed the name of the new ship—MSC World Asia—with anticipated delivery in 2026. Following the format of the other World Class ships that pay homage to different continents, MSC World Asia will symbolize the global nature of MSC Cruises. While details of where the ship will operate are yet to be revealed, MSC World Asia will feature signature design touches, experiences and features inspired by its continental namesake.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises commented, "MSC World America is another example of the incredible professional partnership between us and the Chantiers de l'Atlantique with whom we have designed five distinct and innovative prototypes – the most recent being the ground-breaking World Class platform. With each and every ship we strive to improve and enhance not only the environmental technology but also new features that enrich the experience for the guest as we design for the future holiday experience. MSC World Asia continues in this tradition and with this important milestone of the steel cutting we are pleased to confirm that she will offer even more advanced new features in terms of future-proof marine and onboard hospitality technologies as well as guest experiences."

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique commented, "We are very proud to begin construction on MSC World Asia. The third ship in the World Class series will feature cutting-edge technologies, making it one of the cleanest, most energy-efficient ships in the world. She embodies MSC Cruises' and Chantiers de l'Atlantique's long-term partnership and commitment toward the environment."

The remarkable MSC World America will be MSC Cruises' largest ship to serve the U.S. and its first in the region to be powered by LNG. MSC World America is the second of the line's groundbreaking World Class ships and is specially designed with the North American guest in mind, featuring unique restaurants, bars and experiences that seamlessly blend European design with American comfort. Spanning 22 decks, measuring more than 150 feet wide and featuring 2,614 staterooms, MSC World America will be the centerpiece of the Miami skyline when she is named in 2025.

The World Class ships are distinguished by their eye-catching silhouette and signature plumb bow rising vertically from the waterline, with a stylish Y-shaped aft that opens onto an impressive outdoor promenade. These ships are an ultramodern urban metropolis at sea, offering a world of different experiences and spanning 22 decks, offering more than 2,600 cabins and suites, and providing more than 420,000 square feet of public space and featuring MSC Cruises' largest Yacht Club to-date. The exclusive "ship-within-a-ship" concept offers unparalleled levels of comfort, with a private lounge and restaurant, stylish suites and substantial outdoor areas with a sun-deck spanning two decks that offers panoramic views of the ocean.

MSC World Europa and MSC World America currently deliver one of the lowest carbon footprints in the cruise industry, as per the International Maritime Organization's Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). MSC World Asia will be an evolution of these high performing ships, with an even further reduced carbon footprint.

MSC World Asia will become the fourth Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) ship to join the MSC Cruises fleet, as LNG continues to be seen as a critical pathway toward maritime decarbonization. Fossil LNG offers immediate Green House Gas (GHG) emission reductions compared to conventional marine fuels, along with a direct pathway to drop in renewable substitutes like Bio and Synthetic LNG, which MSC Cruises' LNG ships are ready to use as soon as the fuels become commercially available at scale.

New generation dual-fuel internal combustion engines will help to reduce emissions and reduce methane slip by 30 percent versus current technology. MSC Cruises is part of an EU-funded project called GREEN RAY, that is working to minimize methane slip by developing new technologies that can be installed onto new and existing ships. Initial tests of the new combustion concept have shown encouraging results.

MSC World America and MSC World Asia, as with all new MSC Cruises ships, will be fitted with shore power connectivity as standard. This reduces emissions by allowing the ship's engines to be switched off while calling at ports providing shore power. Smart technology is used throughout the ship to ensure guests can travel in comfort while keeping energy and water use low. A robust onboard recycling program minimizes waste, and even the propellers are designed to reduce noise and avoid disturbing marine life.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces 'Nothing Comes Close' Marketing Campaign
Celebrity Cruises is extending an irresistible invitation to discerning travelers: Come on board and discover a world where 'Nothing Comes Close SM' to the elevated experiences and unmatched offerings that await on a premium journey at sea. 'Nothing Comes Close', Celebrity Cruises' new brand positioning and brand identity, is premiering globally on April 8th. The launch builds upon the recent enthusiastic reception to the introduction of Celebrity Ascent in late 2023 and the highly anticipated arrival of Celebrity Xcel in 2025.

Designed to capture Celebrity's unique offering combining the intimate and thoughtful service of a small ship, with the variety and excitement of bigger ones, 'Nothing Comes Close' will be the core of the cruise line's brand positioning from media and advertising, to travel advisors and onboard. It highlights the inherent promise of a premium vacation that indulges the sense of curiosity, exceeds expectations, and offers experiences found nowhere else.

"Our guests tell us that Celebrity vacations are unparalleled. From the thoughtfulness of our crew, to the excitement of entertainment and activities, guests tell us that 'Nothing Comes Close' to the way we make them feel," said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. "Our new brand position packages this feeling in a memorable and compelling way."

The brand positioning is brought to life in a confident and playful creative style which captures the essence of a Celebrity vacation from the perspective of guests employing a technique coined 'True Eye View'. Distinguishing Celebrity, the visual approach is designed to elevate audience's curiosity through their point of view and make them feel like they're in the moment.

"This isn't just a brand campaign. This is who we are. It embodies the spirit of what sets a Celebrity Cruises vacation apart," said Michael Scheiner, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Celebrity Cruises. "The creative direction captures and conveys the elevated emotions and transformative experiences that guests enjoy from the moment they step onboard Celebrity Cruises, where every detail is elevated beyond their expectations."

Celebrity is launching the 'Nothing Comes Close' campaign with a high reach, full funnel media buy. With its witty messaging and authentic imagery, 'Nothing Comes Close' cements Celebrity's reputation among guests as a brand with an emotional connection that sets it apart from the rest.

"Cliffhanger" Coming to Miami's Newest Megaship: the Only Over-water Swing Ride at Sea, Exclusively on MSC World America
MSC Cruises unveiled its latest thrill ride today. Cliffhanger, the only over-water swing ride at sea, will debut exclusively aboard MSC World America when the ship enters service in April 2025. The ride structure will tower above the new U.S. flagship's top deck, nestled in the heart of the ship's Family Aventura district and beckoning thrill seekers who want a rush of excitement.

Cliffhanger's four seats start off close to the deck before powered arms lift them into the starting position—up and out over the edge of the ship. From there, riders are propelled back and forth, high above the waterline and dangling 160 feet above the ocean below. The one-of-a-kind, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride will have guests feeling the wind in their hair as their view oscillates between the water below and the sky above.

MSC World America is set to become MSC Cruises' newest U.S. flagship when she is named at PortMiami on April 9, 2025. Guests will experience a new world of cruising as they explore seven distinct districts, each with its own atmosphere, facilities and experiences waiting to be explored. MSC World America's districts allow guests of all ages to choose their own vacation adventure and get the most out of their time on board.

During the ship's inaugural season, MSC World America will sail from Miami with 7-night itineraries to some of the most sought-after destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, all with stops at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve – MSC Cruises' unique private island paradise in The Bahamas.

MSC World America is carefully designed to help reduce her impact on the environment. The ship runs on LNG, a lower-emissions fuel, and is ready for renewable energy sources. Shore power connectivity, where available, reduces emissions by allowing the ship's engines to be switched off in port. Smart technology is used throughout the ship to ensure guests can travel in comfort while keeping energy and water use low. A robust onboard recycling program minimizes waste, and even the propellers are designed to reduce noise and avoid disturbing marine life.

Oceania Cruises Announces Giada De Laurentiis as Brand and Culinary Ambassador
Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, is embarking on a new journey, announcing celebrated Italian-American chef, author, restaurateur and Emmy award-winning food personality Giada De Laurentiis as its Brand and Culinary Ambassador.

De Laurentiis will also co-chair the line's new Culinary Advisory Board alongside renowned chef Jacques Pépin, a founding member of Oceania Cruises' culinary team and the line's original Executive Culinary Director.

The Culinary Advisory Board will focus on guiding, developing and reinforcing Oceania Cruises' commitment to serving The Finest Cuisine at Sea. This role will include inviting acclaimed chefs and artisans from around the world to join the initiative as Oceania Cruises develops the next chapter in its culinary legacy.

"Having set sail with Oceania Cruises as Godmother of Vista, I immediately connected with the line's extraordinary commitment to food and the entire dining experience," said Giada De Laurentiis. "The people were so warm and welcoming; the entire onboard experience was incredibly inviting, and everyone truly starts to feel like family. Oceania Cruises' mission aligns perfectly with my own. Travel and food are the ultimate ways of bringing people together – to savor unique flavors, experience different destinations and create shared memories. I couldn't be more excited to expand my relationship with Oceania Cruises."

Co-Chairs De Laurentiis and Pépin will work closely with Oceania Cruises' two Executive Culinary Directors and Master Chefs of France, Chef Alexis Quaretti and Chef Eric Barale, who will play key roles in developing the scope of the Culinary Advisory Board.

"Food has forever been a universal language, transcending boundaries and bringing people, literally, to the table," said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "With a legacy deeply rooted in family and a passion for gastronomy, it seems only fitting that Oceania Cruises furthers its relationship with Giada. I am thrilled that she and our culinary patriarch, Jacques, will helm our Culinary Advisory Board to further evolve and innovate, redefining the boundaries of the onboard dining experience."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.66 - 3.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 138.29 - 1.61%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 19.39 - 7.40%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Most people know that Cunard's Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth served as troopships during World War II. Which two cruise ships served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which passenger/cruise ship was the first to have a swim up bar?

Answer - The Royal Viking Sun was the first to have a swim up bar. courtesy of Robert Hampton, Newport News, Va.


Cruise News - April 1, 2024

Carnival Corporation Reports Record First Quarter Revenues and All-time Record Booking Levels
Carnival Corporation & plc announced financial results for the first quarter 2024 and provided an outlook for the full year and second quarter 2024.

"This has been a fantastic start to the year. We delivered another strong quarter that outperformed guidance on every measure, while concluding a monumental wave season that achieved all-time high booking volumes at considerably higher prices," commented Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Executive Officer Josh Weinstein.

"These results are a continuation of the strong demand we have been generating across our brands and all core deployments, leading to an upward revision of full year expectations by more than a point of incremental yield improvement and setting us up nicely to deliver a nearly double-digit improvement in net yields," Weinstein added.

"With much of this year on the books, we have even greater conviction in delivering record revenues and EBITDA, along with a step change improvement in operating performance, and have begun turning more of our attention to delivering an even stronger 2025," Weinstein noted.

First Quarter 2024 Results

• Cash from operations was $1.8 billion and operating income was $276 million.

• Adjusted net loss was better than December guidance. U.S. GAAP net loss of $214 million, or $(0.17) diluted EPS, and adjusted net loss of $180 million, or $(0.14) adjusted EPS (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Adjusted EBITDA of $871 million exceeded December guidance by over $70 million (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Record first quarter revenues of $5.4 billion, with record net yields (in constant currency) and record net per diems (in constant currency) both significantly exceeding 2023 levels.

• Gross margin yields nearly doubled compared to 2023 and net yields (in constant currency) significantly exceeded 2023 levels by over 17 percent.

• Gross margin per diems increased 73 percent compared to 2023 levels and net per diems (in constant currency) were up nearly five percent, significantly exceeding strong prior year levels.

• Onboard revenue per diems were higher than 2023 for the company's North America and Australia ("NAA") segment as well as its Europe segment. On a consolidated basis, onboard revenue per diems reflected a mix impact due to the increased weighting of its Europe segment driven by its higher occupancy growth.

• Cruise costs per available lower berth day ("ALBD") increased 7.9 percent compared to 2023. Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) were better than December guidance due to the timing of expenses between the quarters and up 7.3 percent compared to 2023 (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Total customer deposits reached a first quarter record of $7.0 billion, surpassing the previous first quarter record by $1.3 billion ($5.7 billion as of February 28, 2023).

Bookings

Carnival said that it experienced an early start to a robust wave season with record booking volumes for all future sailings that exceeded expectations. Carnival said that it achieved considerably higher prices (in constant currency) than last year on first quarter booking volumes, having entered 2024 with less inventory remaining for sale, in line with the company's strategy to pull the booking curve forward. In fact, pricing (in constant currency) on bookings for the remainder of the year for the company's NAA segment was considerably higher compared to the prior year, with its Europe segment up double digits.

"We are enjoying a phenomenal wave season with strength across all major deployments and brands. Even with less inventory available for the remainder of the year, booking volumes hit an all-time high, driven by demand for 2025 sailings and beyond. Our brands have demonstrated continued success creating demand that outstrips available capacity translating into higher prices (in constant currency) and a further elongation in the booking curve," Weinstein noted.

Carnival said that its booked position for the remainder of the year continues to be the best on record, with both pricing (in constant currency) and occupancy considerably higher than 2023.

2024 Outlook

Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore:

• Given the timing of yesterday's event in Baltimore and the temporary change in homeport, our guidance does not include the current estimated impact of up to $10 million on both adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income for the full year 2024.

For the full year 2024, Carnival said that it expects:

• Net yields (in constant currency) up approximately 9.5 percent compared to 2023, over a point better than December guidance, based on continued strength in demand and with occupancy at historical levels.

• Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel (in constant currency) are $35 million better than December guidance, with adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) 0.5 percentage points higher than December guidance as a result of lower ALBD's from the Red Sea rerouting as certain ships reposition without guests.

• Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $5.63 billion, over 30 percent growth compared to 2023, and better than December guidance, despite the impact of the Red Sea rerouting of approximately $130 million or $0.09 adjusted EPS through November 2024.

For the second quarter of 2024, Carnival said that it expects:

• Net yields (in constant currency) up approximately 10.5 percent compared to 2023 levels, including the unfavorable impact from the Red Sea rerouting of 0.5 percentage points, with occupancy at historical levels.

• Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) up approximately 3.0 percent compared to the second quarter of 2023, including the unfavorable impact of 1.3 percentage points as a result of lower ALBD's from the Red Sea rerouting as certain ships reposition without guests.

• Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.05 billion, over 50 percent growth compared to the second quarter of 2023.

Other Recent Highlights

• Carnival Firenze officially joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, becoming the second ship to feature its highly successful "Fun Italian Style" concept and will begin homeporting from the west coast in April.

• Carnival Cruise Line announced a new pier extension for Celebration Key, which will ultimately double the arrivals at its highly anticipated, new exclusive destination on Grand Bahama Island opening summer 2025.

• Princess Cruises debuted its most luxurious ship to date, Sun Princess, offering an extraordinary guest experience while showcasing next-level architecture and amenities.

• AIDA Cruises announced the largest modernization program in its fleet's history, AIDA Evolution, focused on enhancing guest experience while further reducing its environmental footprint.

• Carnival Corporation & plc's brands continue to achieve new peak booking levels with Holland America Line reaching its highest booking day in its history, P&O Cruises (UK) and Princess Cruises' Alaska bookings surpassing their previous January record, and Cunard reporting more guests booked in January than any equivalent period in the last decade.

• Carnival Corporation was named one of America's Best Large Employers for 2024 by Forbes.

American Cruise Lines to Acquire Four American Queen Voyages River Vessels

American Cruise Lines announced this week that it is buying four river cruise vessels that formerly sailed for American Queen Voyages (AQV), which ceased operations earlier this year.

The vesseks being acquired include the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built, American Queen, as well as American Duchess, American Countess and American Empress.

The sale of the vessels will be part of the part of the Chapter 11 process for AQV parent Hornblower Group. An auction was held for the assets, including the coastal ships with American Cruise Lines emerging as the winner of the river fleet.

In a statement, American Cruise Lines said: "American Cruise Lines is pleased to be the successful bidder for AQV’s river vessels. “We look forward to announcing additional details after this portion of the Hornblower Holdings bankruptcy process concludes."

Celebrity Cruises Redefines Premium Escapes With New Caribbean 2025-2026 Itineraries
Celebrity Cruises newly announced 2025-2026 cruise season includes more short Caribbean sailings, appealing to guests seeking midweek and weekend escapes. Highlights of the 2025-2026 season aboard Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Summit include calls to Bimini, Cozumel, Key West, Nassau, and the award-winning private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay. Celebrity Cruises is offering three- and four-night Caribbean journeys for the first time this summer, and the addition of 2025 and 2026 calls builds on the enthusiasm from guests seeking convenient escapes.

“More than ever before, our guests are seeking opportunities to escape the everyday to bond with friends and family,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises. “We love that we can offer vacation options designed to provide guests an elevated experience that’s close to home while still exceeding their expectations of what a vacation can be.”

Celebrity Reflection will offer guests year-round options, departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and providing the convenience of over 100 sailings of three- or four-night trips ideal for people looking for a vacation that fits into, and gets away from, their busy work and life calendars. Whether playing outdoor games on the half-acre of real grass at The Lawn Club, enjoying the handmade pastas of Tuscan Grille or soaking up the sun poolside, every inch of Celebrity Reflection is dedicated to an unmatched getaway. The ship will continue its calls on Perfect Day at CocoCay, the popular, award-winning private destination.

Also sailing from Port Everglades, Celebrity Summit will offer four- and five-night opportunities to explore or restore offering guests carefree bike rides in Key West, ancient Mayan temples in Tulum, or simply the chance to indulge in an afternoon onboard in The Spa. Celebrity Summit features a revolutionized look and feel including refreshed interiors, staterooms and access to The Retreat which exceeds guest expectations with personalized service across exclusive spaces such as Luminae and The Retreat Lounge, and a variety of amenities.

With opportunities to visit nearby locations on midweek or weekend cruises, Celebrity provides more options than ever for unwinding and relaxing while exploring unique destinations. The 2025-2026 Caribbean season will also see longer immersive vacations offered, including seven-to-10-night sailings aboard Celebrity Beyond

Seabourn Unveils 'the Collection': Exclusive Cruises Featuring Unique Shoreside Experiences
Seabourn this week introduced "The Collection," a series of exclusive sailings featuring unique, one-of-a-kind shoreside experiences that complement the line's unparalleled, ultra-luxury experiences. The first sailings to launch as part of "The Collection" include a selection of Western Mediterranean voyages on Seabourn Venture in 2025, featuring exclusive access to private cultural events, fine dining at world renowned wineries and premium tickets to iconic tennis tournaments in select marquee ports. Fares and complete details for "The Collection" can be found on Seabourn's website.

Ranging from seven to 10-day voyages, "The Collection" will offer a combination of luxury and special interests, providing guests with an exclusive opportunity to savor life's extraordinary moments up close. "The Collection" will offer a combination of luxury and special interests, providing guests with an exclusive opportunity to savor life's extraordinary moments up close. The 2025 voyages will comprise of two seven- and eight-day "Mediterranean Marvels & Matches" sailings between Barcelona and Rome with overnights and tickets to the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open Tennis Tournaments; two 10-day "Andalusian Nights" sailings between Barcelona and Lisbon featuring an overnight in Seville and an exclusive shoreside cultural event with dinner, a private Flamenco dance performance at the iconic Villa Luisa; and an eight-day "Vineyard Vista" cruise between Lisbon and Dublin with an overnight in Bordeaux and an exclusive wine-centered shoreside event.

"Each journey within 'The Collection' is a bespoke masterpiece and promises an immersive blend of luxury and special interests that fit perfectly with our ultra-luxury experiences," said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn. "From private dinners at some of the best wineries to attending prestigious tennis tournaments, 'The Collection' will deliver special 'Seabourn Moments' for our extraordinary guests who seek out of the ordinary experiences."

"The Collection" 2025 Voyages include:

10-Day Andalusian Nights: Spotlight On Seville – Guests will embark on a captivating voyage between Lisbon and Barcelona, fully embracing the Mediterranean's many cultural delights and scenic wonders. This uniquely curated itinerary includes two exclusive events in Granada and Seville, and an enchanting overnight stay in Seville, where guests will be treated to an authentic Andalusian experience, including cocktails, dinner and a mesmerizing private flamenco dance performance at the iconic Villa Luisa. Two departures are available: March 26 – April 5, 2025, and April 20-30, 2025.

Seabourn's Barcelona Open and Monte Carlo Masters voyages invite guests to indulge in their love for tennis, transporting them to the heart of the Mediterranean to attend the iconic Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open. These voyages include general admission (one ticket per guest) to the tennis tournament featured on the sailing, Seabourn Conversations presentations connecting guests with world-class tennis players and special tennis-themed onboard activities and programming.

8-Day Mediterranean Marvels & Matches: Monte Carlo Masters – April 5-13, 2025 – Guests can escape on an unforgettable journey from Barcelona to Rome, which includes an overnight in Monte Carlo and upper-level tickets to the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinal, where the ATP 1000 event unfolds at the iconic Monte Carlo Country Club. Beyond the courts, guests will explore the enchanting Riviera, with visits to gems like the pristine Palamós on Spain's rugged Costa Brava, chic St. Tropez, France, and picturesque Portovenere of Italy's Cinque Terre.

7-Day Mediterranean Marvels & Matches: Barcelona Open – April 13-20, 2025 – guests can explore the breathtaking beauty of the Riviera, from the charming Tuscan Island of Elba to the glittering gems of Cannes and St. Tropez in France, before staying overnight in Barcelona and receiving tickets to Barcelona open semifinal. Guests will become immersed in the world of tennis as they spend two exhilarating days in Barcelona, where the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open, an ATP-500 event, unfolds at the historic Real Club de Tenis Barcelona – 1899.

8-Day Vineyard Vistas: An Evening In Bordeaux – April 30 – May 8, 2025 – Seabourn Venture will sail from the sun-kissed shores of Lisbon to the emerald landscapes of Dublin, where each port unveils a new chapter of discovery. Guests will stay overnight in the heart of Bordeaux, a city of timeless elegance, and experience an intimate evening at Château Smith Haut-Lafitte. The voyage includes a private dinner amidst the vine-covered hills, inviting engaging and lively conversations with passionate winemakers and experts who unveil the secrets behind each exquisite blend.

These new voyages will provide guests with the opportunity to experience life on board the ultra-luxury, purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, in these destinations before the ship returns to its expedition-focused voyages later in the year. While expedition experiences will not be offered on these new itineraries, guests will still experience the many ultra-luxury Seabourn amenities and services they know and cherish, such as the world-class dining and culinary experiences, entertainment, all veranda suites luxuriously appointed, and Intuitive, personalized service.

Cunard Teams Up with Savile Row Master Tailor Kathryn Sargent
This is the moment Cunard captain, Inger Thorhauge, met Savile Row Master Tailor Kathryn Sargent for a final uniform fitting ahead of new ship Queen Anne's arrival.

Kathryn Sargent, a Savile Row pioneer and the world's first female Master Tailor, has partnered with the luxury cruise line to design and create bespoke blues, whites and mess uniforms fit for the next generation of Cunard Captains and Officers.

Having pored over the Cunard archives for inspiration, the new uniforms weave the very best of British design and style with the heritage and prestige of ocean travel.

Captain Inger Thorhauge said: "It's been a privilege to work with Kathryn and see how the style and elegance of her uniforms have come to life throughout the design and fitting process. I can't wait to wear the new uniform with pride when I and my team will be welcoming guests for the very first time on May 3."

Kathryn Sargent added: "I have long held a fascination and interest in the symbolism and structure of uniforms and working with Cunard. It has been a privilege to get to know Captain Inger and to work with a brand whose principles closely align with a shared sense of tradition, precision, craft, and putting the individual at the heart of what both do – and an appreciation for dressing appropriately with a sense of occasion, grace, and comfort."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 17.11 + 5.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 136.17 + 6.63%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 20.54 + 3.74%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which passenger/cruise ship was the first to have a swim up bar?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mary, and the Normandie (This is the only time these three ships were together in one port) courtesy of Chris Kail, New York, New York


Cruise News - March 25, 2024

Carnival Cruise Line to Temporarily Move Baltimore Operations to Norfolk Due to Key Bridge Accident
Carnival Cruise Line said today that while rescue and remediation efforts continue in Baltimore Harbor following the collapse of the Key Bridge, it will temporarily move Carnival Legend’s Baltimore operations to Norfolk, Virginia.

Carnival Legend is scheduled to return from its current voyage on Sunday, March 31. It will now return to Norfolk on Sunday, and guests will be provided complimentary bus service back to Baltimore.

Carnival Legend’s next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will then operate from and return to Norfolk. Guests on the current and upcoming cruises are being informed of this change.

“Our thoughts remain with the impacted families and first responders in Baltimore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We appreciate the pledge made by President Biden today to dedicate all available resources to reopen Baltimore Harbor to marine traffic as soon as possible. As those plans are finalized, we will update our future cruise guests on when we will return home to Baltimore, but in the meantime, we appreciate the quick response and support from officials in Norfolk.”

Carnival Corporation Orders an Additional Excel-Class Ship for Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced it has signed an agreement with Meyer Werft shipyard for a fifth Excel-class cruise ship for its namesake Carnival Cruise Line brand, with the delivery set for 2028.

In mid-February Carnival Corporation had announced the first newbuild order placed in five years with news that a fourth Excel-class ship would join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in Spring 2027. This announcement confirms an 11th Excel-class ship for the corporation's fleet across four of its world-class brands, and the fifth to be sailed by Carnival Cruise Line.

"Carnival's Excel-class fleet will soon be a quintet of these very popular ships that provide outstanding guest amenities and tremendous operating efficiencies," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Since the introduction of Mardi Gras in 2021 and the subsequent expansion with Carnival Celebration in 2022 and Carnival Jubilee in 2023, these Excel-class ships are driving excitement, demand, and strong guest satisfaction ratings. With the arrival of Carnival Firenze in April, we are completing the addition of five ships to our fleet in less than 20 months, and then we will pivot to another phase of growth with these two Excel ships."

This fifth Excel-class ship will be built on the same platform as its sisters, with the 180,000-ton ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and designed to carry over 6,400 guests and 1,800 crew.

"This new order continues to balance our commitment to growth with our responsible capital approach to utilize strong free cash flow over the next several years to strategically improve our balance sheet, significantly reduce our leverage levels and continue to transfer value from debt holders to shareholders," said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

"Carnival Cruise Line continues to perform at an outstanding level, and we are focused on adding capacity across the company where it aligns with demand and our position in the marketplace. This measured capacity growth strategy will result in our adding one to two ships per year beginning in 2027, and we will be identifying additional fleet plans over the coming months for our cruise lines to meet capacity demand and improve execution across all aspects of our operation, with the benefit of yielding higher return on invested capital," said Weinstein.

"We are proud of the role the Excel-class from MEYER WERFT and MEYER TURKU has played in contributing to the success of Carnival Corporation for many years now. We look forward to continuing this success story together," said Bernd Eikens, CEO MEYER Group.

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Four Seasons Yachts Unveils Inaugural Itineraries to the Caribbean and Mediterranean
Four Seasons, together with luxury yachting company Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings Ltd, Joint Owner/Operator, Four Seasons Yachts, and venerated Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, continues to chart a new course of luxury at sea. As momentum builds towards the inaugural season of Four Seasons Yachts, the first 10 unique voyages are unveiled, each inviting travellers to make the iconic islands and hidden gems of the Caribbean and Mediterranean their playground, with meticulously designed suites that guests will call home along the journey.

"We are excited to showcase the breathtaking destinations and world-class design awaiting guests aboard Four Seasons Yachts as we approach our inaugural season in 2026," says Alejandro Reynal, President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons. "At Four Seasons, guest-centricity has always been the foundation of our luxury service offering and our exceptional Yacht will extend this approach to the seas. Our teams are dedicated to innovating and delivering genuine service, ensuring each journey is defined by comfort, elegance, and personalization, setting a new standard for luxury hospitality experiences at sea."

A Journey Across Crystal Clear Caribbean Waters and Magnificent Mediterranean Seas

In its debut year, Four Seasons Yachts will explore more than 130 distinct destinations across over 30 countries and territories. All itineraries are crafted with flexibility in mind, allowing guests to tailor their own adventure as they explore beyond the familiar. The team curating each itinerary understands the nuances of these locales, ensuring each experience is truly extraordinary. Enhancing itineraries are customizable with pre-and-post hotel and overland programs at beloved Four Seasons hotels and resorts.

The first Four Seasons Yacht, currently under construction in Ancona, Italy, will travel westbound as part of its repositioning and will welcome guests to set sail amid the serene turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea from January to March 2026. The first Caribbean itineraries feature seven nights of exploration through the most exciting yachting destinations including Saint Barthélemy (St Barths), Nevis, the Grenadines, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Curaçao and Aruba. Destination highlights include indulging in the dazzling nightlife of St Barths, discovering Martinique's volcanic coral reefs and lush rainforest landscapes, a marina day in St Lucia's Tobago Cays, and much more.

With more destinations and details to be unveiled in the coming months, the first Grand Mediterranean voyages will begin in March 2026 and will include sailings through Croatia, Gibraltar, Montenegro, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Türkiye. The Mediterranean itinerary will also highlight the Greek Isles, with stops in Athens, Ios, Santorini, Milos, and more. Guests will explore under-the-radar islands steeped in culture and history, offering a variety of experiences that go above and beyond the ordinary of Mediterranean sailings.

Bespoke Suite Designs Focused on Comfort, Connection and Care

In collaboration with Tillberg Design of Sweden and the Yacht's Creative Director, Prosper Assouline, the Yacht's suite design embodies the essence of intuitive luxury, each a sanctuary of tranquility with panoramic views, elegant interiors, thoughtful details and a residential feel that creates the sense of a welcoming home at sea.

"Our goal was to craft an environment that feels both familiar and extraordinary, with warm hues and open designs. We are creating an inviting, welcoming environment that reflects the same feeling one experiences at a Four Seasons hotel or resort," says Fredrik Johannson, Partner and Executive Director of Tillberg Design of Sweden. "At the same time, we are designing a look and feel that is unique to this project, creating an elegant yet simple interior that stands out on its own, while blending beautifully with the majestic seas that will surround it."

With 50% more living space per guest than currently available with any competitor at sea, all suites will offer floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing sweeping sea views, double vanity bathrooms with spacious showers and closets, expansive private terraces, and dynamic use of space and light.

The Yacht's extensive network of adjoining suites will feature an innovative system that connects accommodations with modular walls, offering numerous options of vertical and horizontal combinations within the signature suites. This versatility will unlock more than 100 different connection options and the unique opportunity to reserve an entire side of a deck, perfect for those travelling with family, friends, or larger groups. For example, this one-of-a-kind design will allow for more than 13,000 square feet (1,200 square metres) of total living space.

A New Suite Standard: Funnel and Loft Suites

The largest accommodations are seven signature suites ranging from 2,981 to 9,975 square feet (277 to 927 square metres) of indoor and outdoor living space. They offer two to three bedrooms, separate living rooms, indoor and outdoor dining space, splash pools, outdoor showers, and the option to connect to additional suites.

The premier signature suite accommodations – the Funnel and Loft Suites – both feature three bedrooms, outdoor showers, and splash pools. The largest on board, the Funnel Suite, housed within the Yacht's glass-enclosed funnel, is 9,975 square feet (927 square metres), spanning four levels of living space. The suite's towering floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows, made up of the largest contiguous piece of glass at sea, is a one-of-a-kind engineering feat offering stunning 280-degree panoramic views. The Loft Suite is 7,952 square feet (739 square metres) and can accommodate large group sizes of up to 20 people by connecting with seven additional suites, the largest number of connecting suites available.

When exploring beyond the comforts of their stunning suites, guests can enjoy 11 dining options, spa and wellness offerings, a state-of-the-art transverse marina, and the stern pool, set to be one of the largest in the industry at nearly 19 metres long and 5 metres wide (65 feet long and 18 feet wide). Its unique hydraulic lift design will allow the pool deck to level out, creating an expansive outdoor space for weddings, celebrations and other events.

Four Seasons Yachts will redefine luxury at sea with its all-suite, residential style product, best in class design and the brand's renowned service and care delivered through a 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio.

Viking Marks Float Out of Newest Egypt Ship
Viking today announced its newest ship for the Nile River—the 82-guest Viking Hathor—was "floated out," marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Set to debut in August 2024, the Viking Hathor will join the company's growing fleet of state-of-the-art ships for the Nile River and will sail Viking's popular 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.

"Egypt is a phenomenal destination, and we are pleased with the continued interest for our Nile River voyages. Our guests are thinking people who are curious about the world—and Egypt, with its cultural treasures and ancient antiquities, remains at the top of the travel list for many of them," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "With the float out of the Viking Hathor, we look forward to welcoming more guests to experience this fantastic region."

The traditional float out ceremony of the Viking Hathor took place at Massara shipyard in Cairo and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. She will now be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

The Viking Hathor & Viking's Growing Egypt Fleet

Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, the new, state-of-the-art Viking Hathor is inspired by Viking's award-winning river and ocean ships with the elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known. An identical sister ship to the Viking Osiris and the Viking Aton, the Viking Hathor features several aspects familiar to Viking guests, such as a distinctive square bow and an indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace. Viking will have six ships sailing the Nile by 2025 with the addition of another sister ship, the Viking Sobek, which is already under construction and will be delivered next year. Additional ships in the Egypt fleet currently include the Viking Ra and the MS Antares.

Viking's Pharaohs & Pyramids Itinerary

During the 12-day, Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary, guests begin with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where they can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, or the Grand Egyptian Museum. Guests then fly to Luxor, where they visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River, featuring visits to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the temples at Abu Simbel and the High Dam in Aswan, and a visit to a colorful Nubian village, where guests can experience a traditional elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the ancient city.

Royal Caribbean Announces New Royal Beach Club in Mexico
Royal Caribbean International is putting a new beach club experience on the map. The world’s largest cruise line has announced the expansion of its destination lineup with Royal Beach Club Cozumel in Mexico, opening in 2026. At the future location of the beach club along the western coast of the island, Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley revealed plans for the next experience in the Royal Beach Club Collection while alongside the secretary of tourism of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Bernardo Cueto Riestra, and the mayor of Cozumel, Juanita Alonso.

“We are delighted to build on our longstanding partnership with the local community and government to continue bringing our guests to Mexico,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “The expansion of our destination offerings aligns with the growing global demand for the ultimate vacation experiences and enables our guests to connect with the beauty of local cultures and people in the places they visit.”

“The anticipation for what’s next when it comes to Royal Caribbean destinations has only continued to build since we revealed Royal Beach Club Paradise Island in The Bahamas that opens in 2025. Now is the perfect time to announce the next iteration of this collection with Royal Beach Club Cozumel,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Cozumel is an incredible destination, and the beach club will perfectly complement all the island has to offer as an experience that combines familiar Royal Caribbean touches with the spirit of Mexico, alongside amenities and activities for every type of vacationer.”

Featuring striking beaches, views and pools for every vibe, Royal Beach Club Cozumel will welcome vacationers to their ultimate beach day in Mexico, complete with Royal Caribbean’s signature attention to detail across the experience, service and design. Everyone can make memories with a combination of experiences that span from kicking back to adventuring across swim-up bars, dedicated pools for relaxation enthusiasts and families, private cabanas, snorkeling, kayaking, and more. And for a taste of Mexico and quintessential beach day favorites, coming to the table will be a variety of dining spots like a restaurant, bar and lounge with views – and flavors – for days and a street market as well as hands-on experiences like tequila tastings and cooking classes.

“We are very proud that Royal Caribbean International has chosen Quintana Roo to build Royal Beach Club Cozumel as a new attraction for many of their guests visiting our magical island. My administration will always be committed to partnering and working very closely with the private sector to build modern and sustainable infrastructure and create local jobs for our people. These kinds of projects reaffirm our commitment to continue to be the top port of call in Latin America,” said Mara Lezama, governor of Quintana Roo.

The new beach club experience is the latest in the cruise line’s growing lineup of destinations, which includes the top-rated Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas, that set the bar for private islands after a $250 million transformation in 2019. From ongoing expansions to the island – like the newly opened adults-only Hideaway Beach – to Labadee, Haiti, and the Royal Beach Club Collection, Royal Caribbean has set the stage for vacationers to create their perfect vacation day in more ways than one in The Bahamas and the eastern and western Caribbean.

More details about Royal Beach Club Cozumel will be revealed in the coming months. The Royal Beach Club Collection also includes Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, a 17-acre Bahamian beach experience located on Nassau’s Paradise Island, opening in 2025.

Cunard Launches Multi Award-Winning West End Show Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort of) at Sea
Direct from its triumph in the West End where it won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is premiering at sea on board Queen Anne's British Isles Festival Voyage.

The unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen's love story, brought to Cunard by acclaimed theatre producer David Pugh, will debut on Queen Anne's British Isles Festival Voyage, departing on May 24 for a two-week celebratory "lap of honor" circumnavigation of the British Isles that will also feature the official Naming Ceremony.

Following its highly anticipated premiere on the waves, the award-winning show will be a mainstay of Queen Anne's maiden season – headlining an eclectic mix of dazzling live performances at sea.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We always strive to surprise and delight guests with unique and enriching experiences that can only be experienced on a Cunard ship. We are therefore excited to be teaming up with the incredible David Pugh for the at-sea premiere of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), which is one of the most acclaimed West End productions of recent times. I truly believe we are redefining luxury entertainment at sea with Queen Anne."

Show Creator, Isobel McArthur, added: "Guests on board Queen Anne coming to see Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) can expect a theatre show that is deeply affectionate towards the iconic Jane Austen original, with a few new elements thrown in to persuade even the biggest skeptic of 'period drama' to start swooning at Mr. Darcy. Our version of the original rom-com is Pride & Prejudice, but told by the servants – with karaoke! It is a big-hearted, dynamic ensemble piece where those who normally just serve the tea are suddenly playing every part. The cast and creative team have proven themselves so skilled and hard-working in rehearsals – they can't wait to present this special iteration of the play for its very first at-sea audience."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 17.11 + 5.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 136.17 + 6.63%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 20.54 + 3.74%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
The decorative doors of the classic French liner Normandie's Grand Foyer survived the ship's fire and sinking. Where can you see those doors today?

Answer - Normandie's famous foyer doors can be seen at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Brooklyn NY. courtesy of John Fostik


Cruise News - March 18, 2024

Oceania Cruises Appoints Chef Alexis Quaretti and Chef Eric Barale as Executive Culinary Directors
Oceania Cruises has announced the appointment of its two Master Chefs of France, Chef Alexis Quaretti and Chef Eric Barale, as its two executive culinary directors.

They succeed Jacques Pépin, legendary chef and founding father of Oceania Cruises' culinary philosophy, The Finest Cuisine at Sea.

Pépin will remain a crucial part of Oceania Cruises in his new role as executive culinary adviser. He and the line will also continue working together through the important philanthropic work undertaken by The Jacques Pépin Foundation. Oceania Cruises has been a key partner and supporter of the foundation since its inception.

"It's truly remarkable to have two Master Chefs of France leading our culinary team," said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "Chefs Alex and Eric are the next generation of our culinary innovation and will continue the evolution of our foodie story, carrying forward Jacques' incredible legacy."

Jacques Pépin commented, "I am so proud to be passing the baton to these two phenomenally talented chefs who have worked alongside me for the past twenty years. It's a true pleasure to see how the line's culinary innovation flourishes year after year and I look forward to championing Chefs Alex and Eric further by being here for any advice or guidance needed. I look forward to dedicating more of my time to my charitable undertakings through The Jacques Pépin Foundation."

Oceania Cruises is the only cruise line to boast two Master Chefs of France, as both Chef Alex and Chef Eric have been inducted into the prestigious echelons of the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France.

Both chefs are long-standing members of the culinary team, Eric being one of the first members of Oceania Cruises' culinary family and Alex joining shortly after in 2004. Their complementary skill sets, experience and shared vision create a perfect partnership to protect and further develop the line's culinary story.

"With Allura launching in 2025, we will have eight ships in the fleet and more than 40 restaurants constantly circulating the globe, and having these two talented executive culinary directors at the helm means we can maintain our laser focus on serving The Finest Cuisine at Sea," added Del Rio.

Chefs Alex and Eric will be joining a stellar line-up of world-renowned chefs attending the upcoming Jacques Pépin Foundation Gala taking place in New York City on April 4.

Carnival Firenze Registered With Panama
As work continues in Cadiz, Spain to ready Carnival Firenze for its Carnival Fun Italian Style debut, team members on board raised the Panamanian flag to designate the ship’s new registry with Panama.

Carnival Firenze is the latest addition to Carnival’s fleet of 27 ships and joins several other sisters that are also registered and flagged in Panama.

After completing dry dock work in Cadiz, Carnival Firenze will depart for California on March 22. It will serve as a stunning addition to Carnival’s homeport of Long Beach, sailing year-round beginning April 25, 2024, with a wide range of cruise options currently available.

The second ship to feature Carnival Fun Italian Style experiences, Carnival Firenze’s design is inspired by the beautiful city of Florence, Italy, and the ship will be invigorated from bow to stern by Carnival’s signature fun. For more details about the ship and its itineraries, click here to visit Carnival.com.

MSC Cruises to Host Naming and Celebratory Sailing for Msc World America in Miami
MSC Cruises announced today that it will host the naming ceremony for its newest flagship—MSC World America—on the evening of April 9, 2025 at the company's new PortMiami terminal. The ceremony will honor MSC Cruises' investment in Miami and its commitment to the North American market, with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle and a slate of immersive onboard events highlighting everything Miami's newest megaship has to offer.

Guests attending the naming ceremony will be among the first to discover a new world of cruising when they embark on a celebratory sailing that will see MSC World America call at the cruise line's private island—Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. The celebratory sailing's itinerary includes an overnight stay at Ocean Cay featuring the island's signature evening lighthouse show and beach party. Guests will continue to enjoy Ocean Cay the next morning, followed by spending the rest of the day at sea to experience the ship's long list of unique and exciting onboard activities and amenities.

The remarkable MSC World America will be MSC Cruises' largest ship to serve the U.S. and its first in the region to be powered by LNG. MSC World America is the second of the line's groundbreaking World Class ships and is specially designed with the North American guest in mind, featuring unique restaurants, bars and experiences that seamlessly blend European design with American comfort. Spanning 22 decks, measuring more than 150 feet wide and featuring 2,614 staterooms, MSC World America will be the centerpiece of the Miami skyline when she is named in 2025.

Rubén A. Rodríguez, President, MSC Cruises USA, said: "There is no better place to welcome MSC World America than the cruise capital of the world. We look forward to seeing her sail out of our new, state-of-the-art cruise terminal built in partnership with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami. As we build upon our offering in the North American market and help attract more international guests to the Caribbean, we are excited to bring our newest and most remarkable ship yet to Miami. We eagerly await April 2025, when we can welcome guests on board to experience the world of choice that our new flagship has to offer."

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County, said: "We are thrilled to welcome MSC World America to PortMiami. I also want to commend MSC Cruises for their investments in our community. Their new terminal has created many jobs for our residents and positively impacted our local economy. We look forward to a successful partnership and continued growth at the Cruise Capital of the World."

The launch of MSC World America at MSC Cruises' new PortMiami terminal, coupled with MSC Cruises' upcoming $100 million U.S. headquarters in downtown Miami, underscores the Company's unwavering dedication to South Florida. The PortMiami facility will be the world's largest cruise terminal once completed and is poised to revolutionize the cruising experience for up to 36,000 guests each day. The terminal will support MSC Cruises' continued growth at PortMiami.

Following the naming ceremony, MSC World America will set sail for her inaugural season on April 12, 2025. She will sail alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries with stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Isla de Roatan, Honduras; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas.

MSC World America is carefully designed to help reduce her impact on the environment. The ship runs on LNG, a lower-emissions fuel, and is ready for renewable energy sources. Shore power connectivity, where available, reduces emissions by allowing the ship's engines to be switched off in port. Smart technology is used throughout the ship to ensure guests can travel in comfort while keeping energy and water use low. A robust onboard recycling program minimizes waste, and even the propellers are designed to reduce noise and avoid disturbing marine life.

Holland America Line Announces 2025-2026 Mexico and Pacific Coast Itineraries
Holland America Line revealed its 2025-2026 Mexico and Pacific Coast seasons, including longer calls at unique ports like Mexico's Loreto and Topolobampo, and a new seven-day Great Bear Rainforest itinerary — a rarely cruised route that reveals the beauty of British Columbia, Canada. Cruises run from August 2025 to May 2026 and range from one day up to a 29-day Collectors' Voyage.

Holland America Line has long been known as a leader in cruising in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and a seven-day "Great Bear Rainforest" itinerary that hasn't been offered in decades showcases a distinct take on cruising in this region. Departing Oct. 5, 2025, and April 19, 2026, aboard Noordam, travelers seeking a more intimate experience can become immersed in the culture, nature and rare wildlife of Ketchikan, Alaska, and Prince Rupert, Nanaimo and Victoria, British Columbia.

Noordam sails historic Inside Passage on unique itinerary, rich with wildlife and nature

"This in-depth exploration of the PNW takes guests through the historic Inside Passage, sailing through some of the most confined waters our ships have ever sailed, said Paul Grigsby, vice president of deployment and revenue planning for Holland America Line. "This is the true Inside Passage, the storied route between Seattle and Alaska that ships have been sailing since as far back as the gold rush era. It is a first for our company to plan a sailing focused on this fjord-like waterway that maximizes a daylight transit to allow best opportunities for wildlife sightings," added Grigsby.

The roundtrip from Seattle, Washington, "Great Bear Rainforest" itinerary calls at Ketchikan before heading south to thoroughly explore ports in British Columbia. The ship overnights in Prince Rupert before scenic cruising in Greenville Channel, past the first nation's village of Bella Bella, Johnstone Strait and Seymour Narrows. While cruising, guests can view wildlife like whales, eagles and the rare Kermode bear — also known as the spirit bear. A maiden call at Nanaimo and visit to popular Victoria give guests the opportunity to deeply explore many different communities in British Columbia.

Ten additional itineraries along the Pacific Coast highlight the region's stunning scenery and sail from San Diego, California, to Seattle or Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Cruises call at popular ports like Astoria, Oregon; Santa Barbara, California; and Ensenada, Mexico; and select itineraries feature an overnight in San Francisco, California.

For those seeking some fun under the sun, Holland America Line's Mexico season provides the perfect escape. Cruises are roundtrip from San Diego or between San Diego and Vancouver, taking travelers to Mexico's iconic ports like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, while also granting access to even more of the Sea of Cortez with calls at Guaymas and Santa Rosalia, Mexico. Late-night calls on select itineraries allow guests to discover historic sites in Loreto and take in Topolobampo's dramatic scenery.

"Our Mexico cruises are favorites among many guests due to the incredible weather and beautiful landscapes, with ports boasting on average 300 days of sunshine a year," said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer for Holland America Line. "And there's so much more to experience beyond the scenery. Guests can delve deep into the culinary delights of the region through shore excursions, while also enjoying local fresh fish like yellowfin tuna on board."

Highlights of the 2025-2026 Pacific Coast Season:

• Cruises on Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam and Zaandam.
• Itineraries are roundtrip Vancouver, Seattle or San Diego; and between Seattle or San Diego and Vancouver.
• Several one-day "Pacific Northwest" getaways between Vancouver and Seattle offer a quick taste of Holland America Line.
• "Pacific Coastal" itineraries are four, five and six days and sail between San Diego and Vancouver. The four-day features a call at Avalon or Santa Barbara and the five-day visits San Francisco; the six-day overnights in San Francisco.
• "Great Bear Rainforest" is seven days roundtrip from Seattle and calls at Ketchikan, Prince Rupert, Nanaimo (maiden call), and Victoria.
• A four-day "California Retreat" sails roundtrip San Diego departing Oct. 21, 2025, and calls at Ensenada, Avalon and Santa Barbara.
• A four-day itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver departing April 29, 2026, calls at Astoria and Victoria.
• "Wine Country and Pacific Northwest" is from San Diego to Vancouver. The six-day cruise includes Victoria and San Francisco (overnight); the seven-day adds Avalon and Astoria, and extends the call in Victoria to a late-night departure.
• "Classic California Coast" is seven days roundtrip from San Diego and calls at Avalon, San Francisco (overnight) and Ensenada.

Highlights of the 2025-2026 Mexico Season:

• Two ships offer Mexico itineraries: Nieuw Amsterdam and Zaandam.
• Cruises are roundtrip from San Diego or between San Diego and Vancouver.
• Seven-day "Mexican Riviera" cruises feature Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.
• The seven-day "Baja Peninsula" itinerary visits La Paz, Loreto and Cabo San Lucas.
• The 10-day "Mexican Riviera and Sea of Cortez" itinerary includes all five of the ports on the seven-day itineraries and features a late-night call in Loreto; the 11-day adds Manzanillo, Mexico; the 12-day adds scenic cruising Bahia Magdalena.
• The 11-day "Mexican Riviera and Pacific Coast" cruise departs San Diego, calling at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan before heading north, calling at Avalon and ending at Vancouver.
• The 12-day "Historic Baja Peninsula" includes eight ports: Santa Rosalia, Guaymas, Loreto (late-night call), Topolobampo (late-night call), La Paz, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

Cunard Reveals Queen Anne Daytime Activities
With less than 50 days to go until Queen Anne's maiden voyage, Cunard has revealed some of the new deck games that guests can play aboard its newest ship.

The luxury cruise line has celebrated deck games for more than a century, and now Cunard can announce an exclusive partnership with Pickleball England, the English governing body of one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK and North America*.

Pickleball is a mixture of tennis, badminton, and table tennis and can be played by singles or in pairs, either indoors or outside, and Queen Anne's top deck will boast its very own state-of-the-art Pickleball court.

Queen Anne will also be the only ship in the world where travelers can master their archery skills with a real bow and arrow, as Cunard elevates its deck game offering with a new Archery GB partnership.

The partnership connects Cunard with world-leading athletes and Olympic coaches, with onboard instructors accredited by Archery GB. The 3,000-guest ship will be an official Archery GB activity center, where guests will be able to learn the basics with in-person coaching, compete with fellow travelers, and enjoy a social introduction to the sport.

Sky Bar and Observation Deck

Guests will find Queen Anne's spectacular Sky Bar and Observation Deck a haven for deck game enthusiasts.

Located at the forward of the ship on deck 14, this day-round venue is a wonderfully multi-purpose destination, complete with some of the most uninhibited views of any outside space on board.

Golfers will enjoy the putting green and fully stocked driving range, allowing travelers to practice their game surrounded by sparkling sea views or overlooking stunning port landscapes.

The ever-popular deck quoits and shuffleboard courts will also be based in the Observation Deck and Sky Bar, offering travelers the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy some friendly competition.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "Whether it's pickleball, archery, or world-class shows and lectures, Cunard is committed to providing guests with a wealth of activities to choose from whatever mood or interest may take them. Our onboard entertainment has always been at the heart of what we do, and we look forward to Queen Anne continuing this trend in the future."

Disney Cruise Line Offers Worldwide Adventures in Summer 2025
Disney Cruise Line will sail to fan-favorite destinations in summer 2025, offering unforgettable family vacations around the world. Itinerary options include tropical getaways to The Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida, adventures of grandeur in Alaska and, for the first time ever, European sailings to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe on board the Disney Fantasy.

Disney Fantasy Marks Inaugural Season in Europe

The Disney Fantasy will spend its first summer season in Europe in summer 2025, visiting incredible European destinations from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean from May to late July. Five– to 12-night sailings from Barcelona, Spain and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy will call on picturesque ports of call throughout the Mediterranean, while one special 12-night sailing to the Greek Isles will feature three stops in Greece, two in Italy and the season’s only stop in Valetta, Malta.

From late July to September, the Disney Fantasy will sail from Southampton, United Kingdom to numerous destinations including Spain, Norway and British Isles.

Alaskan Adventures Return

The Disney Wonder will once again embark on adventures to Alaska from Vancouver, Canada, with five-, seven-, eight- and nine-night sailings from May to September. Families will encounter the breathtaking natural beauty of the last frontier, combined with the magic of Disney, on cruises to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, with port adventures that offer excursions to Alaska’s majestic glaciers and gold mining relics.

More Tropical Escapes from Florida

Four Disney Cruise Line ships will homeport in Florida in summer 2025 with three ships out of Port Canaveral and one out of Fort Lauderdale to whisk families away on tropical escapes to The Bahamas and Caribbean, including Disney’s magical island destinations.

The Disney Treasure, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will follow its inaugural season with seven-night itineraries from Port Canaveral to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean sailings will take families to Disney’s private island paradise, Disney Castaway Cay, along with Tortola and St. Thomas. Western Caribbean sailings will bring families to destinations such as Falmouth in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The week-long voyages will offer at least two days at sea, giving families more time to enjoy the unique spaces, immersive dining and world-class entertainment onboard.

The Disney Magic will homeport in Port Canaveral for the first time since summer 2016, taking guests on four- and five-night sailings to The Bahamas and both of Disney’s island destinations. One special 10-night southern Caribbean sailing in July will take families to both of Disney Cruise Line’s island destinations along with Antigua, St. Kitts, San Juan and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Both the Disney Magic and the Disney Dream will take guests to Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, the one-of-a-kind retreat on the island of Eleuthera, in summer 2025. The vibrant tropical getaway will provide a unique window into the rich culture of The Bahamas merged with Disney’s signature entertainment and service. Select itineraries will include stops at both Disney Castaway Cay and Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, with six Disney Magic or Disney Dream cruises sailing exclusively to Disney’s island destinations, inviting guests to experience even more magic both onboard and on land.

The Disney Wish will also sail from Port Canaveral, offering three- and four- night sailings to Nassau and the beloved beaches of Disney Castaway Cay. In South Florida, the Disney Dream will sail from Fort Lauderdale on three- to five-night sailings to one or both of Disney’s magical island destinations along with Nassau or Cozumel.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.19 - 0.25%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 128.26 + 0.36%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 19.65 - 0.76%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The decorative doors of the classic French liner Normandie's Grand Foyer survived the ship's fire and sinking. Where can you see those doors today?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - NCL bought the France for 18M USD in 1979. courtesy of Jonas Ekstam, Stockholm


Cruise News - March 11, 2024

Security Concerns Force MSC to Make Adjustments to MSC Poesia World Cruise
MSC Poesia, currently sailing its 121-day 2024 World Cruise program for MSC Cruises, will cancel planned port calls in the Middle East on the back of security concerns in Red Sea.

MSC Poesia will instead return to South Africa, sailing the West Coast of the continent for Europe, rather than her planned transit through the Suez Canal via the Red Sea.

MSC Cruises is offering compensation for impacted guests with a 500 euro refund per adult guest in the form of an onboard credit “as a gesture of goodwill.” MSC is also offering Future Cruise Credit equal to ten percent of the cruise fare paid for the affected part of the itinerary.

“We are aware that some of our guests have expressed disappointment for the itinerary changes that we had to perform,” the company said in the letter signed by Poesia’s Captain Roberto Leotta.

“I want to address these concerns and explain the hard choices that we had to make to go ahead with our 2024 World Cruise,” he added.

“As you know, the conflict in Israel fundamentally altered the geopolitical landscape across the East Mediterranean and the Middle East. When the hostilities started in October, we first adjusted the itinerary to offer you a safe and carefree cruise experience through the Suez Canal,” Leotta continued.

“However, as the crisis extended to the Red Sea with attacks against cargo ships, it became clear that we had to avoid the region and follow an alternative route along Africa’s west coast to proceed,” he added, noting that other cruise lines also redeployed ships away from the region.

“Our company worked relentlessly with immigration, customs, and port authorities at new destinations to secure berthing permits, obtain visas and other formalities. A process that takes up to 12 months was completed in just a few weeks,” Leotta noted.

He also said that MSC kept the guests informed of the itinerary changes as soon as they were confirmed, either directly or via travel agents.

“Since then, we had to deal with last-minute operational challenges at some of the new destinations in our itinerary, including additional requirements imposed,” Leotta added, noting that calls in Senegal and Kenya were either cancel ed or shortened to avoid triggering yellow fever vaccination requirements at other ports.

“In other cases, we were able to keep destinations in our itinerary thanks to our relationship with local authorities, but we had to change the date, like in Durban. As it may happen in any sailing, we also had to cancel one call due to adverse weather – Portuguese Island,” he explained.

“Considering the challenges caused by these external factors, we are thrilled that our diligent efforts have allowed us to proceed with our 2024 World Cruise,” Leotta added.

Although the issues are out of MSC Cruises’ control, he continued, the company is “naturally disappointed” that they have affected the guests.

MSC Poesia kicked off its worldwide in Italy earlier this year and called in Cape Town in February. The 121-day itinerary was initially scheduled to visit 52 ports across 31 countries.

Windstar Cruises Announces Thrilling, First-Ever ‘Mystery Cruise’
Windstar Cruises announced this week its first-ever “President’s Mystery Cruise” set to depart on April 19, 2025.

The eight-day voyage is aimed at Windstar Yacht Club members (the line’s valued repeat guests) and their friends and will depart from and return to Athens. The rest of the port calls on the itinerary will remain a mystery to guests onboard Windstar’s 312-passenger, all-suite Star Legend. The unannounced destinations will be kept a secret from guests until 24 hours ahead of arrival at each port. Once the exact locations are revealed, Windstar guests will be able to choose from a variety of different shore excursions at the destination.

So where will the Star Legend be docking? Windstar says travelers can expect lots of new, thrilling, and exciting experiences during this voyage.

“It’s going to be a lot of places—the majority of them, if not all of them—we haven’t been before,” said Windstar’s President Christopher Prelog.

Aboard the Star Legend guests will also have the opportunity to meet Prelog, as this “Mystery Cruise” will also double as the company’s annual, popular President’s Cruise, where guests get a chance to know the leadership of this personal, small cruise line that does things “180 degrees from ordinary.”

“The team is keeping the itinerary secret even from me,” confesses Prelog. “They know I get excited about things and can’t help sharing; I’m looking forward to the anticipation of finding out where we’re going along with the guests on board.”

When speaking about this innovative new concept, Prelog says the idea was inspired by Windstar’s recent Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands sailing onboard the Star Breeze. Just two days into the 11-day itinerary, Tropical Cyclone Nat disrupted plans to travel on the ship's set course, resulting in swift action by the onboard team to craft a completely new itinerary to avoid the bad weather. The positive response from guests, including a keen sense of adventure, sparked leadership to lean into this idea, and so the “Mystery Cruise” concept was developed.

“It’s sort of awakening the sense of adventure again, which is what travel should always do,” said Prelog. “It’s something different, something really interesting. It’s a cruise for guests who like adventure, and who don’t want to plan everything out.”

Carnival Corporation Unveils New Solar Park at Amber Cove
Underscoring its commitment to sustainability, Carnival Corporation today unveiled a new solar park at its Amber Cove Cruise Center in the Dominican Republic. The park's 1,800-plus solar panels will supply 80 percent of the port's energy demand.

Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line and Amber Cove Cruise Center celebrated with a ribbon cutting that was attended by government, industry and community leaders, including Joel Santos, minister of the presidency of the Dominican Republic, and Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

"As we bring guests to enjoy the beauty and rich culture of the Dominican Republic, we also take our environmental stewardship here and everywhere we visit very seriously," said Duffy. "With this new solar park in Amber Cove, we are furthering our commitment to sustainability at our destinations by focusing on renewable energy sources to power the vast majority of the port's needs."

"On behalf of the Government, we celebrate this achievement, which makes Amber Cove the first cruise terminal in the country with a project of this scale," said Joel Santos, minister of the presidency of the Dominican Republic. "This project will undoubtedly contribute to the production of clean energy and environmental sustainability in Puerto Plata, the first tourist destination in the Dominican Republic."

The shift to renewable solar energy will replace most of the port's current energy sources and reduce its reliance on fossil fuel-based energy, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be produced. In total, the solar park is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,000 tons per year – the equivalent to planting more than 30,000 trees.

Located in the heart of the Dominican Republic's north coast just outside the historical town of Puerto Plata, Amber Cove Cruise Center is one of eight leading port destinations and exclusive islands owned and operated by Carnival Corporation. The 25-acre port features restaurants, shops, bars, pools, a zipline, waterfront and hilltop cabanas, and many shore excursion opportunities, such as snorkeling and a waterfall adventure. Four of the company's cruise lines – Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises – regularly visit the cruise port, which celebrated one million arriving guests last December – accounting for more than half of all cruise guest visits to the Dominican Republic in 2023.

MSC Cruises’ Fleet Boosted With Starlink Connectivity
Two thirds of MSC Cruises’ ships are now equipped with SpaceX’s Starlink onboard connectivity and the fleet roll out will be completed by May 2024.

The low earth orbit solution is providing faster internet speeds, improved wi-fi in cabins and public spaces, reduced latency levels, and lower operational costs for 15 of the line’s fleet of 22 ships following bandwidth and data traffic trials in 2022.

The first of MSC Cruises’ vessels to be equipped with Starlink was MSC Magnifica in December 2022.

MSC Cruises has seen on board bandwidth consumption continue to rise, driven by both an increase in the number of connected devices and the number of apps that guests like to use.

Starlink will provide MSC Cruises with enough capacity to keep up with the future requirements of its guests and crew, along with the technical requirements of its fleet.

MSC Cruises’ ships already equipped with Starlink are MSC Divina, MSC Euribia, MSC Fantasia, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Lirica, MSC Magnifica, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia, MSC Preziosa, MSC Seascape, MSC Seashore, MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview and MSC Virtuosa.

MSC Opera and MSC World Europa will be added this month. The line’s other five ships set for enhanced connectivity ahead of the summer 2024 season are MSC Armonia, MSC Bellissima, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Splendida.

EXPLORA I, the first of six luxury ships for MSC Cruises’ sister company Explora Journeys, is also equipped with Starlink. EXPLORA II will be fitted with the enhanced connectivity when she sets sail in August 2024.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.23 + 1.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.80 + 2.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 19.80 + 1.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines and when was her final crossing on that route?

Answer - The ship was the Shalom, built in 1964. She rammed the Stolt Bagdali in NY in Nov 1964 and the tanker sank. After a brief career with Zim, she was renamed Hanseatic for German Atlantic Line, then Doric for Home Lines, followed by Royal Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line, and finally, Regent Sun for Regency Cruises. She sank while under tow for scrapping in 2001 off the coast of S. Africa courtesy of Robert Cantwell, Montreal


Cruise News - March 4, 2024

Sun Princess Debuts on Maiden Voyage to the Mediterranean
The Sun is shining! A celebration is underway as the next-level Love Boat from Princess Cruises – Sun Princess – set sail today on the cruise ship's maiden voyage. The new 177,882-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess is the most impressive, luxurious and stunning Love Boat ever created and introduces an innovative new ship platform designed exclusively for the world's most iconic cruise brand.

Sun Princess officially started the inaugural cruise season on a 10-day Grand Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from Rome, taking eager guests to the marquee ports of Naples, Italy; Crete, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey (for Ephesus); Athens, Greece; Sicily, Italy; Mallorca, Spain; and Barcelona.

"This is an historic day as our new Sun Princess sets sail on her inaugural voyage, and our guests get to experience our sensational, next-level, Love Boat firsthand," said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. "The ship is a magnificent showcase of advanced design, technology and craftsmanship, with elevated spaces and experiences all focused on taking the Princess vacation experience to a new level."

Princess ships are renown for offering spacious venues and Sun Princess takes that to the next level. Sun Princess debuts new eye-catching experience venues including The Dome, a groundbreaking geodesic, glass-enclosed structure at the top of the ship inspired by the terraces of Santorini. The outward and suspended Sphere Atrium, the namesake of this new class of ship, takes the central Piazza hub of the ship into a new dimension. Here guests are enveloped with expansive ocean views and an open concept, inspired to deliver the desired lifestyle of relaxed indoor and outdoor living.

"The Sun Princess is absolutely gorgeous and guests are going to love her. The architecture is unbelievable and the amenities on board are next level, especially the glass dome at the front of the ship which is incredibly stunning," said Monika Best, of Nova Scotia, Canada, the most travelled guest on the inaugural voyage who is sailing for the 141st time aboard a Princess ship. "Princess is evolving and looking more toward families and generational cruises, which I think is absolutely wonderful because more and more families are cruising together."

Sun Princess offers an extraordinary cruise experience with not-to-be-missed culinary, entertainment and luxury accommodations, including:

The Greatest Foodie Destination at Sea
Sun Princess serves up 30 inviting restaurant and bar venues with an unprecedented collection of celebrity collaborators, high-end ingredients and culinary experiences from:

• Spellbound by The Magic Castle: Blending the captivating world of magic with the art of culinary and mixology to create an extraordinary, innovative and immersive dining experience, steeped in magic and adventure.

• Kai Sushi by Makoto: Reshaping traditional sushi with a creative approach, the Master of Edomae-style sushi, Chef Makoto Okuwa brings his 25 years of experience with a new concept crafting playful, exquisitely presented dishes paying tribute to Japanese traditions.

• Love by Britto: A high-end boutique restaurant with the most romantic view from the ship celebrating love and art from world-renowned artist Romero Britto.

• The Butcher's Block by Dario: A new specialty pop-up restaurant from the world's most famous butcher Dario Cecchini, guests enjoy perfectly prepared beef and steak, including Cecchini's signature cuts.

• The Catch by Rudi: An exceptional dinner concept from renowned Chef Rudi Sodamin showcasing delectable treasures from the sea.

• Good Spirits at Sea with Rob Floyd: Destination-inspired, one-of-a-kind cocktail creations from celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd.

Debuting a three-story, main Horizons Dining Room with endless aft views, inaugural menus have been created in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America. While retaining what guests love about Princess, the ship also features favorites like Crown Grill, Sabatini's and Crooners with new design elements to impress.

The Princess Arena is the most technologically advanced theater at sea, offering showstopping and original productions including performances in the round. At night, The Dome astonishes audiences with acrobatic Cirque Éloize performances while the Piazza dazzles with a retractable stage and immersive Champagne Waterfall.

Sun Princess also features the cruise line's largest casino, two-story Lotus Spa, and an expanded retail environment with more than 200 premium brands. The retail space also includes several firsts a sea including an upscale showroom dedicated to luxury horology showcasing TAG Heuer and Breitling and more than 25 new brands available to cruise guests like Italian handbag brand, Pinko and athleisure favorites Beyond Yoga and Varley.

The first-ever family activity zone, Park19, offers multi-generational fun from the top deck. Within decks 19, 20 and 21, guests can experience everything from the Sea Breeze, a glider ride that offers panoramic views of the ocean and breathtaking ports of call to the Coastal Climb, an engaging climbing structure where guests can take in the gorgeous views.

With diverse accommodations to suit every preference and more than 1,500 cabins with balcony views, Sun Princess' re-imagined staterooms include exceptional suites and new Cabana Mini-Suites with extra space for secluded outdoor relaxation.

Rooted in sustainability, Sun Princess is the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) vessel for the cruise line, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and features ingenious energy recovery systems for eco-conscious cruising.

Villa Vie Residences Takes Delivery of Odyssey Marking a New Era of World Cruising
Villa Vie Residences, who redesigned the world of modern-day residential cruising, proudly announces the possession of Villa Vie Odyssey, formerly known as MS Braemar by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. The ship, to be christened Odyssey, marks a significant milestone in Villa Vie Residences' commitment to providing an unparalleled worldwide lifestyle.

Villa Vie Odyssey is set to undergo a transformative journey, beginning with an eight-week renovation in Belfast which aims to elevate the onboard experience to new heights, catering to the sophisticated needs of modern travelers. Among the enhancements planned are the creation of a state-of-the-art business center, rejuvenation of the pool deck, a pickleball court, an observation deck, a culinary center, and comprehensive refurbishments of all 480 staterooms, ensuring utmost comfort and style for every resident.

"We are thrilled to announce the possession of the ship and its transformation into Villa Vie Odyssey," said Mikael Petterson, Chief Executive Officer of Villa Vie Residences. "This marks a significant step forward in our journey to provide residents with an unmatched quality of life and flexibility in residential cruising. Villa Vie Odyssey will set a new standard for global exploration, offering residents an exceptional blend of opulence, immersive travel, and personalized service."

Following the refurbishment, Villa Vie Odyssey will set sail from Southampton, England, on May 15th, marking the beginning of an extraordinary three and a half year journey across seven continents. Residents can anticipate a wealth of enriching experiences, from exploring 13 of the 14 Wonders of the World to the most remote tropical beaches – all while enjoying the comforts of home.

Villa Vie Residences has hired Captain Jozo Glavic as Master of Villa Vie Odyssey. Captain Jozo, who brings over 20 years' experience as a global mariner, previously brought the MS Braemar through the Corinth Canal and has successfully completed the last three dry docks.

"We are excited to welcome Captain Jozo to our team and look forward to his leadership as he helms our ship on our global adventure," said Kathy Villalba, Chief Operating Officer of Villa Vie Residences.

Oceania Cruises Announces 2026 Around the World Voyage
Opening up the world to a new era of global exploration, Oceania Cruises welcomes guests on board its newest ship, Vista, for its highly anticipated inaugural 180-day 2026 Around the World voyage. Having set the standard for extraordinary sailings for over a decade with destination-immersive global journeys, Oceania Cruises sets a new bar with unparalleled comfort and convenience, electing Vista to host this year's circumnavigation visiting 101 ports across 43 countries. Now open for preview, bookings for this unique, all-encompassing journey officially open on March 13, 2024.

Setting sail from Miami on January 6, the boutique 1,200-guest vessel will cross three oceans and 18 seas, exploring the jewels of Southeast Asia and Australia, island-hopping in the South Pacific, calling on unique ports in Europe, and exploring favorite South American cities. Fully charting entire continental coastlines, the journey features both off-the-beaten-path secrets and impressive cities embracing cultural immersions, epicurean discoveries and breathtaking natural wonders.

"After the remarkable success of our most recent world cruises, we have been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to present travelers with an even more extraordinary experience for our 2026 voyage," remarked Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "With that, we are excited to announce that Vista, Oceania Cruises' pinnacle of luxury and newest ship, will circumnavigate the globe artfully intertwining diverse continents, enriching cultures, and mouthwatering cuisines, creating an unforgettable tapestry of exploration for our guests. With this new voyage, we are excited to offer a rare chance to experience the world from an entirely new perspective – and further forward the future of global cruising."

Around the World in 180 Days

The 2026 Around the World journey weaves together a lineup of destinations into a brilliant kaleidoscope of world wonders, marvelous attractions, and exceptional encounters. Vista will start its six-month sojourn with a sweeping six-week exploration of South America, fully charting the continent's western coast before continuing to Mexico and California, and then will island-hop in the dazzling South Pacific and call on unique Australian ports such as the Whitsunday Islands. Farther west, off-the-beaten-path secrets will come to life in Southeast Asia and across India. Toward the end of the voyage, Vista will call into enchanting coastal villages and iconic cities throughout the Mediterranean, British Isles and Nordic region before crossing back over to the United States.

Continuing to elevate The Finest Cuisine at Sea, Vista features 11 onboard culinary venues including the lines' newest additions: Aquamar Kitchen, offering an array of wellness-inspired dishes with a hint of indulgence; The Bakery at Baristas, serving tempting freshly baked pastries; and new signature restaurant, Ember. At 791 feet (241 meters) long and more than 67,000 tons, Vista offers a market-leading staffing ratio with two crew members for every three guests. On board, culinary aficionados will delight in the gourmet experiences curated by Oceania Cruises' two resident Master Chefs of France, Alexis Quaretti and Eric Barale. From immersive Culinary Discovery Tours™ ashore to hands-on cooking classes back on board, guests will have the opportunity to savor the flavors of cultures from around the world alongside Director of Culinary Enrichment Kathryn Kelly, an Oceania Cruises Around the World first. Vista additionally offers an elevated variety of onboard activities including eight bars, lounges and entertainment venues, including the new Founders Bar, the luxurious Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center and Aquamar Spa Terrace.

This epic voyage features over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays and a series of curated complimentary special onshore events and optional multi-day overland programs. Starting at $59,699 per person for the French Veranda Stateroom category, the 180-day world cruise boasts free first-class roundtrip airfare and transfers, an array of included amenities with the Exclusive Prestige Package such as free laundry services, a free visa package, free Internet, free pre-paid gratuities, free luggage delivery, as well as inclusive simply MORE™ amenities including a generous shore excursion credit of $8,800 per stateroom and a comprehensive beverage package available during lunch and dinner.

Royal Caribbean Rolls Out New Short Getaways to the Tropics in 2025-26
Getting away just got easier from coast to coast. Vacationers are in for more ways to pack big adventures into short getaways with the latest lineup of Royal Caribbean International’s 3- to 6-night vacations to the Caribbean and The Bahamas. The island-hopping adventures in 2025-2026 start in six U.S. cities across Florida, California and Texas, from the latest Oasis Class ships, Utopia and Wonder of the Seas, in Orlando (Port Canaveral) and Miami, Florida, respectively; to fan-favorites Navigator and Hollywood newcomer Quantum of the Seas in Los Angeles. Plus, the lineup of Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Jewel, Liberty and Mariner of the Seas brings signature experiences to Tampa, Florida; Orlando (Port Canaveral), Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Galveston, Texas. Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members can book the adventures on Royal Caribbean’s website starting today, ahead of the official opening on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Vacationers will have a wide range of sun-soaked destinations to choose from, including Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private destinations, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas and Labadee, Haiti. From 14 next-level waterslides in Thrill Waterpark to the island’s first adults-only oasis, Hideaway Beach, there are all kinds of adrenaline-pumping thrills and ways to chill on Perfect Day at CocoCay. Labadee, located along the northern coast of Haiti, is a slice of paradise with five stunning shorelines and beautiful mountain backdrops. Experiences range from taking in once-in-a-lifetime views on Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, the world’s longest overwater zipline, to kicking back on white sand beaches and exploring rich culture while meeting local crafters and artisans.

Families and travelers of all ages can also have their pick of idyllic locales across the eastern and western Caribbean, including Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; St. Johns, Antigua; and more.

2025-2026 Short Caribbean Highlights

Oasis Class Vacations for Every Family and Vacationer
The original game-changers, Oasis Class ships feature a combination of ways for every family and vacationer to make memories across signature neighborhoods. Popular experiences include the 10-story Ultimate Abyss dry slide, The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, full-scale entertainment across four stages: air, ice, water and theater; a zip line, FlowRider surf simulator; and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges – from American steakhouse Chops Grille to Izumi, with Japanese-inspired flavors, and more.

• Utopia of the Seas – From Orlando (Port Canaveral) Debuting July 2024, the next big thing coming to short getaways comes back to the greater Orlando area with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday getaways that are packed with ways to celebrate and make memories while island hopping at Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, The Bahamas.

• Wonder of the Seas – From Orlando (Port Canaveral) and Miami
In August 2025, Wonder makes its Miami debut with its first season of 3- and 4-night getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau. Vacationers looking for longer vacations on Wonder can set their sights on 7-night eastern and western Caribbean adventures, starting in Port Canaveral from April 2025 to August 2025, to Perfect Day at CocoCay; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan.

Quantum Class Adventures for All Ages
Adventurers of all ages can look forward to a bold lineup of experiences to maximize every minute of their vacation, from catching a wave on the FlowRider surf simulator to taking on friendly competition at SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity complex at sea, which features bumper cars, a sports court, roller-skating rink and more.

• Quantum of the Seas – From Los Angeles
It’s the Hollywood debut of the season. Vacationers can take adventures from the West Coast to the next level and choose from a mix of 3- to 6-night getaways that can feature destinations like Ensenada, Mexico, and overnights in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Amplified Voyager Class Getaways
Vacationers are in for amped-up experiences, including The Perfect Storm, a thrilling pair of racing waterslides; The Bamboo Room, the cruise line’s one-of-a-kind tik bar and meetup spot; glow-in-the-dark laser tag; and more.

• Navigator of the Seas – From Los Angeles
Families and travelers can explore among the best locales of the Mexican Riviera on 3- to 6-night getaways to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, and Catalina Island, California. For longer adventures, there are 7-night vacations that also visit Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, Mexico, and more.

• Mariner of the Seas – From Galveston
This fan favorite returns to Royal Caribbean’s first zero-energy terminal for the year, with 4- and 5-night vacations to western Caribbean destinations like Costa Maya, Cozumel and Roatan.

Freedom Class Vacations for Everyone
Vacationers can enjoy all that’s in store with an action-packed lineup of amplified experiences. Highlights include thrills like The Perfect Storm racing waterslides and the FlowRider surf simulator, and restaurants serving up everything from sushi and sashimi at Izumi to Tuscan classics at Giovanni’s Table.

• Freedom of the Seas – From Miami
The first half of the summer brings vacationers to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau on 3- and 4-night getaways. The winter introduces a new set of western and eastern Caribbean adventures on 4- and 5-night escapes to George Town, Grand Cayman; Perfect Day at CocoCay, Labadee, St. Johns; and more.

• Liberty of the Seas – From Fort Lauderdale Travelers looking to escape the winter blues can have their pick of 3- and 4-night getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau.

• Explorer of the Seas – From Orlando (Port Canaveral)
Vacationers are in for more winter escapes on 4- and 5-night getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay, Labadee, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Puerto Plata.

Radiance & Vision Class Vacations
On deck are pools, views and experiences made for memory-making from day to night. Whether kicking back on the pool deck or at the adults-only Solarium, finding Zen at the Vitality Spa, adventuring to new heights on Royal Caribbean’s signature rock climbing wall or breaking bread over prime cuts at Chops Grille or five courses at Chef’s Table, vacationers can make the most of their getaway every day.

• Jewel of the Seas – From Fort Lauderdale
For the first time since 2011, Jewel will call Fort Lauderdale home for the summer. Vacationers can choose from alternating 3- and 4-night escapes to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau.

• Enchantment of the Seas – From Tampa
Enchantment is back in Tampa for the entire year to set sail on a mix of 4- and 5-night getaways to the western Caribbean and The Bahamas. Highlights of the destinations in store include Belize City, Belize; Cozumel, Costa Maya, Nassau and Roatan, plus a lineup of vacations that visit Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Princess Installs Innovative Food Waste Biodigesters Onboard New Flagship: Sun Princess
Power Knot Ocean, the market leader for onsite organic waste management solutions in the marine environment, announced today the successful deployment of 26 of its machines aboard Princess Cruises' latest luxury cruise ship, the Sun Princess. The integration of Power Knot's LFC biodigesters and WEP effluent pumps on board Sun Princess marks a significant stride toward sustainable waste management practices within the cruise industry.

Sun Princess, Princess Cruises' newest flagship, weighing 175,500 tons and accommodating 4,300 guests, is set to make its debut in early 2024. Embarking on voyages to the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Caribbean, the ship promises an unparalleled cruise experience with its state-of-the-art amenities, a diverse range of culinary offerings, and opulent staterooms and suites.

The LFC biodigester is a food waste biodigester that uses natural aerobic digestion to break down food waste into water, mitigating the need for traditional disposal methods and contributing to a substantial reduction in both cost and environmental impact. The biodigester units are strategically placed in key areas of the ship such as a galley or garbage room where food waste is processed or handled to improve operations. With nine different sizes available, accommodating the digestion of 10 kg (20 lb) to 6000 kg (13200 lb) of food waste per day, the LFC biodigester provides a versatile and effective approach to waste reduction.

Alongside each LFC biodigester is a WEP effluent pump. These are used to move the effluent to a convenient location so that it can easily be sent to the ship's on board treatment facility.

"The installation of our LFC biodigesters and WEP effluent pumps on the Sun Princess exemplifies our dedication to sustainable waste management solutions. By seamlessly integrating our advanced technology into the ship's operations, we are contributing to a cleaner, greener future for the cruise industry," said Iain Milnes, President of Power Knot.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.07 + 8.73%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.30 + 4.79%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 19.42 + 21.91%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines and when was her final crossing on that route?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which ship received a repreive from the ship breakers to star in the 1976 re-make of the movie "Voyage of the Damned". Hint: for her role as the St. Louis she was fitted with twin dummy funnels.

Answer - It was the Irpinia of Siosa Lines that got that reprieve. courtesy of Larry Robertson Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Cruise News - February 19, 2024

Gwen Stefani Names Carnival Jubilee, Marking First Cruise Ship Christening in Galveston
The stars were out in Texas on Saturday as Carnival Cruise Line celebrated the naming of its new flagship Carnival Jubilee, global music superstar Gwen Stefani was honored as the ship's godmother, and Feb. 24 was declared "Carnival Jubilee Day" by Galveston Mayor Craig Brown – all on the same day that marked the 100th birthday of the late Ted Arison, Carnival Cruise Line's founder. To see highlights from the event, click here.

"We hold a very warm place in our hearts for Carnival Cruise Line because they initiated the entire cruise industry for the City of Galveston. They were the first and will always be first in our hearts," said Brown.

Stefani spent the day on the ship, visiting the bridge to meet the captain and blowing the ship's horn and then cutting the ribbon at several venues including:

• Joining Carnival Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse at his newest Emeril's Bistro on Carnival's Excel class ships

• The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's sculpture, where she met Ty Crowninshield who drew the artwork that inspired the sculpture while he was a patient at the hospital

• The EFFY Jewelry store, where she was presented with her godmother gift of an EFFY Legacy panther ring.

After a cocktail reception and celebratory lunch, the invited guests of public officials, community leaders, travel advisors, business partners and Carnival cruisers attended the 45-minute naming ceremony in the ship's theater. Noting that Carnival Jubilee is the first brand new ship to be homeported in Galveston, and the first cruise ship to be christened in Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy welcomed the guests and thanked the Galveston community for their decades of support. And with reference to the embossed Texas star on the bow of the ship, she assured them that Galveston is Carnival Jubilee's forever home.

Carnival also used the occasion to celebrate its relationships with its two national charitable partners. Duffy announced that after meeting its goal of $33 million for St. Jude by 2024, the company has set a new pledge goal of $50 million by 2030. And a specially-designed pair of Carnival Jubilee-themed cowboy boots by Houston-based Parker Boot Co. were auctioned off for $25,000 to benefit Operation Homefront, which is dedicated to supporting military families.

"I know she has been honored in so many ways for her music with numerous awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and now she has a ship!," said Duffy as she introduced Stefani. "She's also put giving back as an important focus in her life, especially to a number of children's causes, so we are truly thrilled to have Gwen as the Godmother of our flagship Carnival Jubilee!"

As she joined Duffy and Captain Stefano Bonica on stage, Stefani blessed and named the ship, and then pulled a lasso rope and lever that released the champagne bottle that struck the ship's bow to officially christen Carnival Jubilee. Stefani then treated the guests to a private concert of some of her hit songs, including "Just a Girl," "The Sweet Escape" and "Hollaback Girl."

Carnival Jubilee is homeported year-round in Galveston, sailing week-long Western Caribbean cruises. The ship is powered by a liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform and accommodates 6,500 guests and 1,750 crew. Leveraging technology and enriched by detailed theming, the ship celebrates the sea and features the ultimate fun, from a top-deck roller coaster to a resort-like retreat. Carnival recently announced that a fourth Excel sister ship will join Carnival Jubilee, Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras in 2027.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Strong Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Financial Results
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2023 and provided guidance for the first quarter and full year 2024.

Full Year 2023 Highlights:

• Generated total revenue of $8.5 billion, a 32% increase compared to the same period in 2019, with GAAP net income of $166.2 million, or EPS of $0.39 returning to full year profitability for the first time since 2019.

• Achieved Adjusted EBITDA of $1.861 billion in line with guidance of $1.860 billion and Adjusted EPS of $0.70, which is inclusive of a $0.07 foreign currency negative impact. Full year performance was driven by solid revenue growth and continued focus on cost reduction and efficiencies.1

• The Company’s ongoing margin enhancement initiative drove improvement in operating costs. Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day was approximately $301 for the year. Adjusted Net Cruise Costs excluding Fuel per Capacity Day was approximately $154, and 21% less than the same period in 2022. This represents four quarters of continuous year-over-year improvement on this metric.

• Occupancy was 102.9% for the year, in line with guidance of 102.6%, and total revenue per Passenger Cruise Day increased approximately 17%, or 18% in Constant Currency, compared to the same period in 2019.

• Announced a revamped climate action strategy including interim greenhouse gas intensity reduction targets of 10% by 2026 and 25% by 2030 compared to a 2019 baseline with intensity measured on a per Capacity Day basis.

• Successfully took delivery of three ships, Oceania Cruises’ Vista, Norwegian’s Viva and Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur, the most deliveries in a single year in the Company’s history.

Recent Highlights

• Expected refinancing of our $650 million backstop commitment from a secured to unsecured commitment. Additionally, as part of this refinancing, expected repayment of our $250 million 9.75% senior secured notes due 2028, our highest interest rate debt.2

• We have continued to see exceptional demand for our Norwegian Cruise Line brand, with bookings and pricing at higher levels than 2023 for all four quarters of 2024. Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas

• Cruises also continue to see strong demand across all geographies with the exception of redeployed itineraries due to cancellations in the Middle East and Red Sea.

2024 Outlook

• Entered the year at all-time high booked position and pricing for 2024 voyages.

• Net Yield is expected to increase approximately 5.5% as-reported and approximately 5.4% in Constant Currency versus 2023.

• In 2024 Adjusted Net Cruise Costs Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day is expected to be $159, increasing 3.4% in Constant Currency, which includes an approximately 325 basis points impact of increased Dry-dock days and related costs in the year. Excluding this, Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day would be essentially flat year-over-year.

• Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be approximately $2.2 billion, Adjusted Net Income is expected to be approximately $635 million, and Adjusted EPS is expected to be approximately $1.23, an increase of 76% over 2023 results. This Adjusted EPS takes into consideration ~516 million dilutive shares, reflecting the expected accounting treatment of our exchangeable notes.

“Norwegian Cruise Line Holding experienced a momentous year of growth and achievement in 2023. We successfully took delivery of three new ships, one for each of our brands, representing the most deliveries in a single year in our Company’s 57-year history. This important milestone showcases our dedication to innovation and commitment to providing exceptional vacation experiences for our guests,” remarked Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

“Looking ahead, we are determined to capitalize on our recent achievements and take advantage of the positive momentum and strong demand for cruise which resulted in turning the year at all-time highs in both our booked position and pricing. Our team is looking forward to showcasing our world-class fleet, delivering exceptional experiences, and surpassing the expectations of the guests we will welcome on board in 2024 and beyond,” continued Sommer.

Outlook and Guidance

In addition to announcing the results for the fourth quarter and full year 2023, Norwegian also provided guidance for the first quarter and full year 2024, along with accompanying sensitivities. Norwegian does not provide certain estimated future results on a GAAP basis because the Company is unable to predict, with reasonable certainty, the future movement of foreign exchange rates or the future impact of certain gains and charges. These items are uncertain and will depend on several factors, including industry conditions, and could be material to the Company’s results computed in accordance with GAAP. The Company has not provided reconciliations between the Company’s 2024 guidance and the most directly comparable GAAP measures because it would be too difficult to prepare a reliable U.S. GAAP quantitative reconciliation without unreasonable effort.

Holland America Line Visits All Seven Continents on 2026 Grand World Voyage
Holland America Line is set to sail one of its most ambitious Grand World Voyages in 2026. The meticulously planned 132-day cruise will span all seven continents, including a special four-day Antarctic Experience. Details were announced today by President Gus Antorcha to 2024 Grand World Voyage guests aboard Zuiderdam, which is currently sailing in between Okinawa and Tokyo.

The Grand World Voyage will be aboard Volendam in 2026, providing guests with an intimate experience on one of the cruise line's smaller ships, providing an exciting opportunity to cruise France's Gironde Estuary and visit Bordeaux. The voyage will visit 47 ports across 39 countries on an east-to-west route, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida — traveling as far south as Antarctica and north all the way up to Oslo, Norway.

"We asked thousands of past guests and travel advisors for their opinions about the perfect Grand World Voyage, so this may be one of our most thoroughly researched routes ever for a world cruise," Antorcha told world cruise guests. "This itinerary includes destinations we know guests love, packed with memorable moments and overnight stays. We are purposefully visiting fewer ports to allow more time to explore the destinations we visit and to create a voyage that does not feel rushed."

Starting today, travelers interested in the 2026 Grand World Voyage can call Holland America Line's World Cruise Reservations Desk or their travel advisor to make a deposited Future Cruise Request. Guests with a deposited Future Cruise Request will get priority booking confirmation before officially opening to the public.

2026 Grand World Voyage Highlights — Volendam

• 132-day voyage. Departs Jan. 4 2026, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

• Heads south along the East Coast of South America, crossing the equator and sails down to Antarctica. Makes way to Easter Island before traversing the islands of the South Pacific en route to Australia.

• Explores the Great Barrier Reef, Singapore and the Maldives, then calls at Alexandria, Egypt, for an overnight stay before meandering through the Mediterranean and northern Europe before an Atlantic Ocean crossing.

• 47 total ports in 39 countries across seven continents.

• 9 overnight calls: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Papeete, Tahiti; Sydney, Australia; Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; Malé, Maldives; Safaga (Luxor) and Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt; and Lisbon, Portugal.

• 5 late-night departures: Bahia d' Opunoha, French Polynesia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Oslo, Norway; San Juan, Puerto Rico.

• Memorable Moments: Four-day Antarctic Experience, scenic cruising of Chilean fjords, a visit to Easter Island followed by scenic cruising Pitcairn Island, a call at Bordeaux paired with scenic cruising of Gironde Estuary.

Carnival Corporation Announces New Pier Extension for Celebration Key in The Bahamas
Carnival Corporation today announced plans for a $100 million pier extension that will double the arrival capacity of Celebration Key™, Carnival Cruise Line's new exclusive destination scheduled to open on Grand Bahama island in the summer of 2025. In addition to the two berths slated to be complete by 2025, the expansion will add two more berths, with all four capable of handling up to Carnival's largest Excel class ships when complete in 2026. Overall, the expanded cruise pier will accommodate up to four Excel-class ships simultaneously and is projected to welcome nearly 4 million guests annually to Celebration Key by 2028.

The pier extension plans were announced Thursday, Feb. 22 at the 25th Annual Grand Bahama Business Outlook by The Honorable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation in The Bahamas.

"As is fitting for our plans for Grand Bahama island, our vision for Celebration Key is quite grand, and we're already thinking about the next phase of expansion and development," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Building the second pier now allows us to implement growth plans and build itineraries with certainty, and signals to the local community just how important this development is to Carnival Cruise Line and the future of the island."

"This is a momentous day for Grand Bahama and bodes extremely well for its future. The incredible level of new investment on the pier extension highlights the partnership between The Bahamas and Carnival Corporation and demonstrates the popularity of The Bahamas as a destination. Celebration Key will play a vital role in supporting the future prosperity of Grand Bahama and the country at large," said Cooper.

"Carnival Corporation's dedication to our island's growth is both commendable and inspiring – we applaud their expanded investment in Celebration Key in Grand Bahama and welcome the imminent exponential boost to the Grand Bahama economy," said Minister for Grand Bahama The Honourable Ginger Moxey M.P. "We are on the brink of an exciting chapter for Grand Bahama, with Carnival Corporation's expansion opening doors to unprecedented possibilities for our residents. Let us collectively gear up for this transformative journey, as the spin-off opportunities are bound to bring about a wave of prosperity touching every corner of our beloved island."

Celebration Key – Planned with Growth in Mind
Designed specifically for Carnival Cruise Line guests with occupancy growth in mind, the Celebration Key footprint has been carefully planned with expansive spaces and abundant attractions to comfortably host the additional guests expected in 2027. Featuring a mile-long, white sand beach, the largest freshwater lagoons in the Caribbean, and a range of dining, shopping and entertainment options, Celebration Key will include five distinct areas, known as portals, providing endless ways for guests to spread out, relax and enjoy their own kind of fun.

With a focus on curating a distinctly Bahamian dining, shopping, and entertainment scene, Carnival Corporation is working closely with Bahamian officials and community leaders to recruit local companies, excursion operators, construction workers and entrepreneurs for the many business and job opportunities the development will generate and sustain. The company also has hired top Bahamian talent for strategic leadership roles in human resources, operations, and community affairs, and is actively recruiting to fill a number of additional senior positions in the coming months.

Significant Economic Impact for the Bahamas
With the additional $100 million pier extension investment, the now $600 million flagship project remains the largest of its kind ever undertaken by Carnival Corporation. The initial phase of the project, including the original two berths, is projected to help generate over 700 permanent jobs in the community – including approximately 300 Bahamians hired directly by Carnival Corporation to help welcome 2.2 million guests each year to Grand Bahama starting in 2025.

Once the additional two berths are delivered, Celebration Key is expected to bring up to 4 million guests annually to the Grand Bahama destination by 2028. According to an economic impact study by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, over the next two decades the project will drive substantial growth in Bahamian employment, gross domestic product (GDP), and government revenue. The study estimates that the development, construction, and ongoing operation of Celebration Key will create over 2,500 direct Bahamian jobs, generate $3.2 billion in incremental revenue to the Government, and contribute $9.7 billion in incremental economic impact to the Bahamas GDP.

New Experiences Added to Celebrity Collaborators Aboard Sun Princess
As Sun Princess prepares for its February 28 maiden voyage, the newest ship from Princess Cruises is poised to raise the big ship culinary landscape by offering an unrivaled collection of culinary options from celebrated chefs and celebrity collaborators, as well as ingredients sourced from high-end purveyors, and a lineup of exciting and new experiences. Today the line revealed additional dining experiences exclusively available to guests sailing on the next level Love Boat.

The cruise line has announced that Spellbound by Magic Castle will be the latest in Princess Cruises' new category of "Extraordinary Experiences," following the wildly successful 360: An Extraordinary Experience, the remarkable, multi-sensory culinary journey that debuted last year aboard Discovery Princess and Enchanted Princess.

Spellbound by Magic Castle blends the captivating world of magic with the art of culinary and mixology to create an extraordinary innovative immersive dining experience, steeped in magic and adventure.

Just unveiled, the evening begins in an exclusive area of the Horizons Dining Room for a delectable, shared dinner before being escorted to the secluded Spellbound Bar, nestled behind a non-descript door where magic and mixology awaits. Talented, Magic Castle-sponsored magicians perform incredible feats of illusion in themed rooms and theatrical cocktails are delivered by sleight-of-hand servers. With three nightly offerings at 5 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm at limited capacity, advanced bookings are required with a $149 per person cover charge.

Sushi Master Makoto Okuwa Comes Aboard for Kai Sushi
Sun Princess guests eager to try something new will savor Kai Sushi by Makoto Okuwa – reshaping traditional sushi with a creative approach. Through this exclusive partnership, the Master of Edomae-style sushi, Chef Makoto Okuwa, brings his 25 years of experience to Sun Princess with a new concept crafting playful, exquisitely presented dishes paying tribute to Japanese traditions. Edomae-style sushi is a rather modern Japanese cuisine initially created by the Edo (old name for Tokyo) fast food businesses during the 1820's, combining fresh raw fish and cooked rice which is seasoned with vinegar. Chef Okuwa is proud to bring his own variation of sushi appealing to a wide array of palates to Sun Princess. With popular restaurants in Miami, Brazil, Mexico City and Panama and showcasing his skills on Food Network's popular Iron Chef, Chef Okuwa has been recognized by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. Cover charge is $39/person.

Makoto joins other celebrated collaborators with dining options aboard Sun Princess. In addition to Kai Sushi by Makoto, guests can enjoy "The Butcher's Block by Dario," where the world's most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini, grills up perfectly prepared beef and steak; "The Catch by Rudi" a culinary odyssey curated by renowned chef Rudi Sodamin that showcase the ocean's treasures in an exceptional dinner concept; "Love by Britto" which will offer exquisite cuisine against a backdrop of breathtaking views curated by world-renowned artist Romero Britto; and destination-inspired one-of-a-kind cocktail creations at Good Spirits at Sea from celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd.

Royal Afternoon Tea with Royal Chef Darren McGrady
Chef Darren McGrady, personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince William and Harry, plus serving five U.S. presidents - leads a sophisticated Royal Afternoon Tea with Sun Princess guests in the Good Spirits at Sea Lounge. Chef McGrady shares his experiences and stories via visual media, interacting with the live host while guests enjoy a spot of tea and the traditional fixings of scones with clotted cream and jam, tea sandwiches, cookies and pastries. Tea pairings include Earl Grey and English Breakfast, along with more exotic varieties like Lapsang Souchong, Assam and Matcha, and guests may request a glass of bubbly for an added charge. Priced at $30 per person, Royal Afternoon Tea is offered on select sea days and can be reserved in advance.

Sip Wine with Master Winemaker of the Year*, Gérard Bertrand
French winemaker Gérard Bertrand, known around the world for his Cote des Rosés, award-winning rosé and several top-selling French wines, hosts a special wine tasting designed especially for Sun Princess wine enthusiasts. At this special event hosted in the Good Spirits at Sea Lounge, Sun Princess guests will be immersed in the flavors of these bio-diverse wines, the landscape and stories of the region as Gérard and his team interact with them through visual media. Guests can reserve this special event, priced at $40 per person.

Inaugural Menus Created in Collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America
Princess Head of Culinary Arts and Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has teamed up with the esteemed Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to craft all-new, delectable Horizons Dining Room menus for the inaugural Mediterranean season for Sun Princess. Under Chef Rudi's supervision, a team of CIA master chefs will be onboard Sun Princess training the brigade of 252 galley team members to serve up memorable dinner menu items.

In addition to these new collaborations, beginning March 1 Princess will be serving some of the best beef steaks from Four Sixes Ranch Brand Beef. Drawing from the traditions and legacy of the 154-year-old Four Sixes Ranch, Four Sixes Ranch Brand Beef is nurtured on the legendary ranch itself and across a thoughtfully chosen network of ranches. These locations prioritize quality, effective range management, and sustainability.

The addition of Four Sixes Ranch Brand Beef takes place exactly one year after the world-renowned coffee brand, Lavazza, became the line's official coffee partner, ensuring guests will enjoy the essence and quality of real Italian coffee no matter where they sail with Princess.

Sun Princess guests sailing on the first three cruises can now book dining reservations in Horizons Dining Room, Sabatini's, Crown Grill, Kai Sushi by Makoto, The Butcher's Block by Dario, The Catch by Rudi, Umai Teppanyaki and Umai Hot Pot. In the coming weeks, all guests sailing on upcoming Sun Princess voyages will be able to book additional dining experiences.

"With its unrivaled blend of creativity, quality, choice, and expertise, Sun Princess will set a new standard for food and beverage excellence," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. "Food and drink excellence is synonymous with experience excellence aboard Princess ships."

Delectable dishes are found throughout the magnificent new ship, with an astonishing selection of 30 new and signature dining and lounge options offering everything savory journeys and entertaining eats to sumptuous sips and satisfying snacks. Not to be outshined, Sun Princess elevates the main dining room experience with a three-story Horizons restaurant boasting stunning aft views that serve as the perfect backdrop for unforgettable dining moments. The restaurant gives guests the ultimate flexibility when it comes to their dining preferences by offering three dining options - traditional seating with two dedicated dining times nightly (Deck 6), reservations and open seating (Deck 7) or anytime dining/no reservations (deck 8).

At 175,500 tons, Sun Princess exudes the iconic and elegant lines Princess is known for, while delivering an evolution of the brand with new eye-catching architectural spectacles like The Dome, the cruise industry's first geodesic feature on the top deck, and The Sphere, the suspended glass Sphere Piazza at the center of the cruise ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.78 - 0.14%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.57 + 3.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 15.93 - 2.03%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship received a repreive from the ship breakers to star in the 1976 re-make of the movie "Voyage of the Damned". Hint: for her role as the St. Louis she was fitted with twin dummy funnels.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - The ss United States was shown in the background of West Side Story. courtesy of Barry Vaudrin, Minneapolis, MN


Royal Caribbean Group Signs Agreement with Chantiers de l'Atlantique for its Next Oasis Class Ship
Royal Caribbean Group announced today that it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique to order a seventh Oasis Class ship for delivery to its Royal Caribbean International fleet in 2028.

"While we eagerly anticipate the debut of Royal Caribbean's Utopia of the Seas this summer, we're already dreaming up her sister ship and the next installation in the brand's extremely popular Oasis Class," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Across our three brands, we are focused on continuously challenging ourselves to deliver the ultimate vacation experience."

Today's announcement follows Royal Caribbean Group's recent introduction of three new ships including Silver Nova, Celebrity Ascent and Icon of the Seas.

"These are exciting times for Royal Caribbean, and we have an incredible partner in Chantiers de l'Atlantique to bring to life the lucky seventh Oasis Class vessel of what is a remarkable class of ships," added Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Since the 2009 introduction of the original gamechanger, Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class have delivered memorable vacations to millions of families and adventurers of all ages. The renowned ships revolutionized cruising with innovations from the debut of the neighborhood concept to the first-ever split superstructure design and entertainment across air, ice, water and stage, and the next in the lineup will continue that legacy with the latest combination of bold revolutionary, evolutionary and signature experiences.

"This order signals Royal Caribbean Group's continued confidence in our partnership that has delivered some of the most innovative ships at sea," said Laurent Castaing, general manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique. "We look forward to building upon this relationship as we help bring this ship to life."

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Carnival Cruise Line Introduces Carnival Firenze Leadership Team
Carnival Cruise Line today announced the appointment of the senior officers and lead entertainment team members for Carnival Firenze, the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet and the second ship to feature Carnival Fun Italian Style.

Captain Crescenzo Palomba, Chief Engineer Rosario Capilli and Hotel Director Renil Kuruvilla are Carnival Firenze’s senior officers. Ensuring all the Carnival fun is delivered on board, Gordon Travis is serving as the ship’s entertainment director and Joey Boyes has been named the ship’s inaugural cruise director. The team will welcome their first guests aboard Carnival Firenze from Long Beach, Calif. on April 25, 2024.

“Our inaugural team members launching Carnival Firenze are fortunate to work alongside some of the most skilled and experienced leaders in the cruise industry. This ship is a special addition to our fleet as we expand our operations on the West Coast, where we already embark more guests than any other cruise line. We have a unique opportunity to bring our signature FUN to a beautiful vessel inspired by the iconic city of Florence, Italy to our popular homeport of Long Beach. I’m certain this strong team is the perfect group to deliver this dynamic offering to our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Meet Carnival Firenze’s Leaders

Senior Officers

Captain Crescenzo Palomba: Originally from Italy, Palomba began working for Carnival in 1999 and brings nearly 25 years of Carnival experience to the helm of Carnival Firenze. He has worked on 20 Carnival ships, including Carnival Venezia, Carnival Dream, Carnival Valor, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Elation.

Chief Engineer Rosario Capilli: Also from Italy, Capilli started with Carnival as a second engineer in 1990. He has led several engineering teams across the fleet as a chief engineer since 2002. Capilli has worked on 13 other Carnival ships, including Carnival Horizon, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Pride and Carnival Vista.

Hotel Director Renil Kuruvilla: Hailing from India, Kuruvilla brings 30 years of hospitality management experience, with a diverse background in both hotels and the cruise industry. He joined Carnival in 2004, was promoted to hotel director in 2011 and has worked on 14 other Carnival ships – including Carnival Venezia, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Pride.

Entertainment Leaders

Entertainment Director Gordon Travis: Travis hails from Scotland and has over 25 years of experience in entertainment – 10 of those years working as a leader in the cruise industry. Gordon became an entertainment director for Carnival in 2016 and recently led entertainment on Carnival Venezia.

Cruise Director Joey Boyes: Originally from England, Boyes joined Carnival in 2017 as a member of the Fun Squad. He is known for his cheeky British charm, humor and quick wit. He also performs his own stand-up comedy. He most recently served as cruise director on Carnival Horizon and has also been cruise director on Carnival Venezia and Carnival Panorama.

Carnival Firenze is currently undergoing a major investment ahead of its formal introduction to bring Carnival features to the ship. Carnival Fun Italian Style combines Italian theming with Carnival’s signature fun. Built in 2020, Carnival Firenze accommodates more than 5,000 guests and will sail year-round from Long Beach, offering a variety of cruises to Mexico.

Cunard Announces New Voyages
Cunard this week announced new voyages sailing from September 2025 to January 2027 across its iconic fleet of four Queens.

With more than 300 new voyages, Cunard's ships – flagship Queen Mary 2, its newest vessel Queen Anne, as well as Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth – will call at 184 unique destinations around the globe, including 70 countries and 108 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The new program also includes 37 overnight port calls and 66 late-evening departures. There will be five maiden calls for the fleet in Kona, Hawaii; Roatan, Honduras; Dakar, Senegal; Miami, FL; and Molde, Norway.

Queen Anne and Queen Mary 2 will simultaneously sail World Voyages beginning in January 2026, visiting cultural capitals such as New York, Buenos Aires, Dubai, and Melbourne.

Queen Elizabeth will introduce a new program in the Caribbean, sailing 33 voyages roundtrip from Miami, visiting enchanting island towns of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; as well as Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, and St Lucia.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are incredibly excited to have both Queen Anne and Queen Mary 2 offer full World Voyages in 2026. We are so thrilled that our guests will, for the first time ever, have the opportunity to transit the Panama Canal on Queen Mary 2.

"Queen Elizabeth will also take in a new program to the Caribbean, sailing roundtrip from Miami, giving guests expanded opportunities to delve into this tropical region while experiencing the unparalleled luxury of sailing aboard a Cunard ship."

Queen Anne

Cunard's newest ship will visit 102 unique ports with 23 maiden calls including Phuket, Thailand; Cape Town, South Africa; Marseilles, France; and many more. From French vineyards to the African plains, Queen Anne's new voyages allow guests to explore the world while enjoying the thoughtful interiors and distinctive touches of this contemporary deco-designed ship.

Queen Anne Itinerary Highlights:

Full World Voyage, 109 nights (H603D)
Departing on January 11, 2026, roundtrip from Southampton, guests will relish in the soft sands of South Pacific beaches, glass skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, and overnight calls in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, and more.

Norway and North Cape, 14 nights (H616)
Experience Norway's fjords, coastal towns, and the Arctic charm of the north as guests visit ports such as Honningsvaag and picturesque Tromso on this charming Norwegian adventure.

Queen Mary 2

The world's only ocean liner will sail a full world voyage as well as her signature Transatlantic Crossings, Caribbean, and Canada/New England itineraries. Voyages range from two to 109 nights with 15 overnight calls in iconic cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reykjavik, Québec City, Sydney, and more.

Queen Mary 2 Itinerary Highlights:

Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing, 7 nights (M622)
Departing from New York on September 13, 2026, Cunard's signature voyage offers uninterrupted days at sea to unplug and recharge from modern life while relaxing amidst in the waters of the North Atlantic.

Southampton to Sydney, 51 nights (M603G)
Guests will visit Hawaii, French Polynesia, and New Zealand on this itinerary from Southampton on January 11, 2026. During the voyage, Queen Mary 2 will transit the Panama Canal for the first time ever – a history-making moment – before visiting New York, San Francisco, Kona, then crossing the International Date Line before reaching Sydney.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria will spend most of her time exploring the Mediterranean, savoring the relaxed island life of Mykonos, Corsica, and Palma de Mallorca, with additional voyages in the Atlantic Islands and Norway. The ship will visit 73 unique destinations with overnight calls in Istanbul, Funchal Madeira, Amsterdam, Narvik, and more.

Queen Victoria Itinerary Highlights:

Eastern Caribbean, 35 nights (V602)
This epic roundtrip embarks on January 4, 2026, from Southampton and begins with a call-in lively Madeira crossing the Atlantic, heading for the Caribbean. Guests will enjoy the beaches of St. Vincent, Aruba, and Dominica, along with a late evening stay in Curaçao. Queen Victoria will also stop in the vibrant Azores outpost of Ponta Delgada for guests to enjoy the Portuguese hospitality and the distinct Azorean culture.

Italy, France and Spain, 14 nights (V612)
Departing June 15, 2026, guests will sail from Barcelona to Rome to experience the culture and beauty of France, Italy, and Spain including the charming Provencal Toulon and Tuscany's Livorno, home to exceptional Renaissance architecture, and Dalt Vila, Ibiza's UNESCO-listed old town.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth will sail new Caribbean voyages, from September 2025 until April 2026, ranging from nine to 21 nights. The ship is primed for sunny adventures and will visit ancient ruins, centuries-old rum distilleries, and pristine beaches with port calls in Barbados, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, and other alluring destinations. She'll also offer voyages from Seattle or San Francisco which transit through the iconic Panama Canal.

Queen Elizabeth Itinerary Highlights:

Caribbean Celebration, 21 nights (Q535A)
Roundtrip out of Miami, embarking Dec 18, 2025, guests will spend the holidays under sunny skies while visiting island jewels including Castries, Antigua, and San Juan. Christmas Eve will be spent discovering Bridgetown's UNESCO-listed old town followed by calls to Roatan, Jamaica, and Cozumel.

Eastern Caribbean, 12 nights (Q533)
This November 2025 voyage out of Miami will visit picturesque ports fringed with unspoiled beaches and palm trees. Guests will immerse themselves in Puerto Rico's vibrant culture, Antigua's colourful streets, and the wonderous marine life in St. Lucia.

Multi-Ship Back-to-Backs

For adventurous guests who want to experience three ships in one journey, there are multiple opportunities to sample three Cunard Queens back-to-back. One option departs from Seattle, when Queen Elizabeth sails a 21-night voyage transiting the Panama Canal via a call in Los Angeles.

After a connecting flight to New York from Miami, guests will join Queen Mary 2 for a Transatlantic Crossing to Southampton. From there, guests can board Queen Victoria for a 13-night voyage to the Atlantic Islands and Azores that includes an overnight in Funchal, Madeira, and a chance to see gothic-style churches in Ponta Delgada and Porto's decoratively tiled buildings before returning to Southampton, where the three Queens voyage comes to an end.

Cunard's World Voyages and World Voyage segments, sailing from September 2025 to January 2027, are available for World Club members to book at 1 pm on March 5, 2024. All new voyages are available for World Club members to book starting at 1 pm on March 6, 2024.

Oceania Cruises Announces Inaugural Issue of Your World Magazine
Oceania Cruises has announced that the premiere issue of their brand new Your World magazine will be sent to past and potential future guests, as well as to travel advisors, in February 2024. The luxury travel magazine was developed through a new partnership with SANDOW, an innovative media company.

Created to encourage discerning travelers to explore new destinations, as well as shedding new light on classic spots, the magazine offers in-depth, high-quality travel content from experienced and established travel writers. Produced to inspire and ignite wanderlust in even the most seasoned travelers, Your World aims to motivate Oceania Cruises' valued guests to dream more and explore more.

There will be three issues of the magazine each year, with the second arriving in the summer, and a third in the autumn, staggered in order to keep recommendations relevant for the coming seasons.

The premiere issue of Your World celebrates the 'Great Vacation', focusing on the trips planned with family and friends that allow for relaxation, a pause on the ordinary routines of life, and soaking up new experiences across the world.

Featuring a series of lively city round ups, the magazine offers insightful recommendations in Lisbon, Oslo, Newport and Ketchikan. There is an article on the burgeoning Stockholm foodie scene, as well as an exploration of other distinctive culinary regions in Sweden, and the secrets to finding joy whilst planning a cruise. Reading on, guests can hear one writer's story of reconnecting with nature during a jaunt in Norway and Denmark, or note the top ten experiences for visitors to the last frontier, Alaska.

In the "Voyage of the Senses" segment, guests also receive a fresh look at the Oceania Cruises experience, from the expansive gourmet dining options to the array of onboard enrichment and activities and luxurious accommodations. The latter half of the magazine features Oceania Cruises' sailings from July through December 2024 across Europe, Alaska, Canada and New England as well as select voyages in the Caribbean, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia and New Zealand.

"Our well-traveled curious guests are always seeking their next exciting destination along with new and hidden gems in favorite places, which is why we are delighted to partner with the talented team at SANDOW to introduce our first-ever Your World magazine, which offers insights and inspiration to visit destinations worldwide," commented Oceania Cruises' President, Frank A Del Rio. "We set out to raise the bar with our custom travel magazine, and we couldn't be more pleased with the results – the high-caliber content will resonate with our guests and it's beautifully executed. We're already excitedly planning the next issue."

"We are thrilled about this new partnership with Oceania Cruises. SANDOW could not have been more excited to work with Oceania Cruises to develop their premiere issue of the Your World travel magazine," said Kate Kelly Smith, EVP + Chief Sales Officer of SANDOW. "When you consider the deep experience we have with Oceania Cruises' target audience across our brand portfolio, the collaboration is an ideal fit, and we look forward to the coming issues this year, and beyond." The magazine is available to view online here

Buffalo Trace Distillery Selects Premium Barrel for Holland America Line
Holland America Line's beverage program is introducing an exclusive single barrel select bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. This premium offering, curated by Sazerac Master Blender Drew Mayville and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Freddie Johnson, will be available fleetwide in March while supplies last.

The opportunity to serve this unique bourbon arose when Mayville, an avid Holland America Line cruiser, endorsed the cruise line for the prestigious Sazerac Barrel Select program — an honor limited to only a few participants each year. Sazerac is a family of more than 450 brands from award-winning distilleries around the world. The Sazerac Barrel Select Program allows spirits enthusiasts the unique opportunity to hand-pick a barrel from Sazerac's award-winning collection.

"We strive to share experiences with our guests that they won't find anywhere else," said Michael Stendebach, Holland America Line's vice president of food, beverage and rooms divisions. "Collaborating with Buffalo Trace to craft a signature bourbon has been an incredible journey. Drew and Freddie guided us to select a barrel that will resonate with our guests and is the perfect representation of our two iconic brands."

Holland America Line team members were invited to Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky to join Mayville and Johnson in the private barrel selection room, located in the well-known Warehouse D. At the distillery, the group chose four barrels, and then Mayville and Johnson — both icons in the bourbon and spirits world — guided them through a tasting. The group ultimately chose a barrel that offers the distinct characteristics of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, with more intense notes of oak and spice on the nose with a smooth, lingering finish. Mayville reflected on the experience, stating: "We aimed to select an expressive and distinctive barrel for Holland America Line, confident that their guests would enjoy trying something truly unique to the cruise line."

The standout choice was Barrel #002, filled on Dec. 21, 2015, and aged in Warehouse U on Floor 5, Rick 34. This hand-selected barrel has been bottled and shipped fleetwide and will be available for guests to order in March. Enthusiasts seeking to try this exclusive bourbon will find it in the Ocean Bar on each Holland America ship, where it will be served neat, on the rocks, or as an Old Fashioned.

Buffalo Trace joins Holland America Line's evolving beverage program that includes partnering with award-winning bartender Ivy Mix who created new cocktails that capture the essence of Mexico and Latin America, launching its own De Lijn gin and introducing a traditional, pirate-inspired rum punch crafted by renowned mixologist David Wondrich that is available on Caribbean cruises. Additional destination-inspired beverage partnerships will be announced soon.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.80 - 4.45%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.09 - 0.79%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.26 - 2.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the cruise ship that was was overtaken by terrorists in 1985? One passenger was killed in the incident. Also, what was her original name?

Answer - The ship was Achille Lauro. Her previous name was Wilhelm Ruys. courtesy of Roberto Lombardi, Genoa, Italy


Cruise News - February 12, 2024

Princess Takes Delivery of New Sun Princess from Fincantieri; Additional Work in Shipyard Required to Support New February 28 Maiden Voyage
Princess Cruises today has taken delivery of Sun Princess, an entirely new ship platform designed by Fincantieri exclusively for the Princess brand.

The 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess is the most impressive luxurious and stunning Love Boat ever created, offering an array of exciting new entertainment and activities, as well as sensational staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories. With the most balconies on any Princess ship, guests can take in the sunshine and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean from the comfort of their stateroom. The Dome, a transformational entertainment venue inspired by the terraces of Santorini, is the perfect place to relax and the Arena! is an evolution and the most technologically advanced Princess Theater design.

The ship does need to remain alongside in the shipyard to allow for additional technical work to ensure an outstanding vacation is delivered. Accordingly, the cruise line regrettably is cancelling the February 18 voyage. Sun Princess now will make its maiden voyage on February 28 from Rome.

Guests who were booked on the February 18 voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise fare along with any additional onboard services that were pre-purchased, as well as a 50% future cruise credit (FCC) that can be used on a future Princess voyage*.

The cruise brand is also offering financial reimbursement for select travel costs for guests who have already arrived ahead of their sailing and for guests who have not yet started their travel certain changes fees related to flights.

Carnival Announces Godmother of Carnival Jubilee
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that global music superstar Gwen Stefani will be honored as the godmother of Carnival's new flagship, Carnival Jubilee, at a naming ceremony and celebration in Galveston, Texas on Saturday, Feb. 24.

A three-time GRAMMY Award winner, Gwen Stefani has achieved global success as a songwriter, performer, charismatic frontwoman of No Doubt, and as a multi-platinum solo artist. Throughout it all, Stefani has remained a trend-setting music and fashion icon with an impressive array of honors – four MTV Video Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, an American Music Award, and a Brit Award. To date, she's sold more than 60 million units worldwide. Stefani also returned for her seventh season as a coach on the Emmy-winning NBC series The Voice this past fall.

Stefani is also recognized for her philanthropic work, including her support of children's causes.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Gwen Stefani onto Carnival Jubilee so we can honor her as the ship's godmother," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "She has demonstrated her commitment to our Carnival values, including promoting diversity and inclusion, supporting charitable causes, being a leader in her field, and of course, having fun. We are going to show her an enthusiastic welcome in only the way Carnival can when she joins us on February 24."

"I am honored to be the godmother of the new Carnival Jubilee," said Stefani. "Carnival is taking it to the next level of fun while being committed to children's causes and supporting our military families and veterans."

Carnival Jubilee entered service on Dec. 23, 2023 and is homeported year-round from the Port of Galveston. The ship is the third of Carnival's Excel class, is powered on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform and can hold 6500 guests and 1750 crew.

The naming ceremony is an invitation-only event that will be held on board the ship. A portion of the event will be broadcast live on Carnival's Facebook page starting at 3:30 CST on Feb. 24.

Princess Announces The Love Boat Themed Cruise with Iconic Original Cast
Princess Cruises, known for its integral role as the ocean-going co-star in the iconic "The Love Boat" series, has officially unveiled a second themed cruise, reuniting cast members from the original show.

Following the tremendous success of the inaugural Love Boat cruise in 2022, fans of the popular show can sail along with Doc, Gopher, Isaac and Vicki Stubing as they cruise roundtrip from New York to Canada & New England aboard Enchanted Princess, August 31-September 7, 2024.

Princess Cruises Celebrations Ambassador Jill Whelan (aka Vicki Stubing) will join fellow Love Boat cast members including Bernie Kopell (Doc), Fred Grandy (Gopher), and Ted Lange (Isaac). Ezra Freeman, the bartender from the recently aired The Real Love Boat on CBS reality dating series, will join the cast, along with other surprise guests to be announced.

Highly anticipated Love Boat-themed activities, include:

• Sailaway party introducing the cast

• Meet-and-greet photo and signing opportunities

• The Love Boat-inspired guest activities with prizes

• Cocktail demonstration hosted by Ezra Freeman and Ted Lange – practice the finger point!

• Symbolic renewal of vows ceremony, officiated by the cast, with commemorative certificate

• Cast Q&As sharing favorite memories of the show and stories of their careers

• The Love Boat episodes airing on Movies Under the Stars and in staterooms

• The Love Boat trivia with the Cruise Director

• The Love Boat inspired menus and specialty cocktails

• Themed décor, photo backdrops and merchandise

"We had such a blast connecting with fans on our theme cruise in 2022, so bringing it back in 2024 feels like it was meant to be, especially with the addition of some surprise guests," said Jill Whelan, Celebrations Ambassador for Princess Cruises. "Sailing with our fans brings us so much joy and this cruise will undoubtedly be a special reunion, taking us back to where it all began – on a Princess Cruise."

Super fans may opt for a special Love Boat VIP Package, featuring an invitation to an exclusive cast cocktail party, reserved seating for the cast Q&A in the Princess Theater, front-of-the-line access for autographs and photos, dinner at the Captain's Table, plus a themed cruise t-shirt and mug. More details on cost and how to book coming soon.

The seven-day Canada/New England Love Boat theme cruise aboard the 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess sails roundtrip from New York City and visits Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Rockland, Maine; Saint John, Canada (for Bay of Fundy); and Halifax, Canada.

The Love Boat is credited with bringing cruising to the masses and showcasing the romance of the sea, taking Hollywood's biggest stars to sought-after destinations as story lines always ended on a happy note. In the fall of 2022, Princess was featured again as the setting of The Real Love Boat on CBS and Paramount+, reality dating adventure series where three real-life Princess crew members and 12 singles looking for love joined hosts Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell onboard Regal Princess sailing through the Mediterranean.

Carnival Vista Enhanced With New Livery, Heroes Bar, Retail Stores and Expanded Casino
Carnival Vista is returning to her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla. following a 30-day dry dock where she received several enhancements including Carnival’s signature red, white and blue hull livery, a new Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, retail stores, a teen club, arcade and expanded casino.

On the exterior, Carnival Vista now sports Carnival’s signature red, white and blue livery on her hull. Among several interior public areas refreshed, one of the most significant new features is the addition of a Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, which is an expanding venue across the Carnival fleet and honors military veterans and active-duty service members. The casino was expanded with a new layout and a separate non-smoking annex has also been added.

For shoppers, there’s an all-new Effy Jewelry store and a new Cherry on Top. A new Club O2 for teens was created in a new location and the ship’s arcade was relocated and redone as well. The Lido Marketplace was also refreshed with a new look.

The 4,000-guest Carnival Vista will resume year-round sailing from Port Canaveral, offering mostly six- and eight-day itineraries that feature popular destinations, including Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Aruba; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Maarten and St. Thomas. The vessel is part of Carnival’s four-ship deployment in Central Florida, which is also home to Carnival Freedom, Carnival Liberty and Mardi Gras.

Carnival Orders Fourth Excel-class Ship for Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Corporation today announced it has signed an agreement with leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build a fourth Excel class cruise ship for its namesake Carnival Cruise Line brand. The ship, the 10th Excel class ship in the corporation’s fleet across four of its world-class brands, is expected to enter service in Spring 2027.

Joining current Carnival Cruise Line Excel-class ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee, the new 180,000-ton ship will carry over 6,400 guests and be powered on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform. This new ship is the first newbuild order placed by Carnival Corporation in five years.

“Our Excel class ships have been a tremendous addition to the Carnival fleet and proven very popular with our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “As the world’s most popular cruise line, this new ship enables us to continue the growth of our incredible fleet as we welcome our loyal guests back to cruise more frequently and attract new-to-cruise guests to experience all that a Carnival cruise has to offer.”

“Building on our strong performance and growing momentum around the world, we are excited to resume our newbuild program and further enhance our global fleet with yet another state-of-the-art ship that will wow Carnival Cruise Line’s guests,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “With one newbuild scheduled for delivery in 2025, none for 2026, and this order being our only expected newbuild in 2027, our responsible capital approach will support utilizing our substantial free cash flow over the next several years to strategically improve our balance sheet, significantly reduce our leverage levels and continue to transfer value from debt holders to shareholders.

“We are following through on our measured capacity growth strategy, with the addition of one to two ships per year beginning in 2027 which will be allocated to our cruise lines that most need the capacity to satisfy outsized demand, delivering an attractive payback period. We also remain focused on driving revenue growth throughout our portfolio of world-class cruise lines by continuing to improve execution across all aspects of our operation, yielding higher return on invested capital,” said Weinstein.

“We are very pleased that the partnership between the MEYER Group and Carnival Corporation will continue with this new order," said Bernd Eikens, CEO MEYER Group.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.49 - 2.15%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.02 - 3.46%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.64 - 2.92%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the cruise ship that was was overtaken by terrorists in 1985? One passenger was killed in the incident. Also, what was her original name?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - It was Princess Grace of Monaco who rechristened SS Constitution in 1982. As Grace Kelly, she had sailed to Europe aboard SS Constitution to marry Prince Ranier in 1956. Sadly Princess Grace was killed in an auto accident later in 1982. courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Montreal, Canada


Cruise News - February 5, 2024

Royal Caribbean Group Reports 2023 Results
Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) today reported 2023 Earnings per Share ("EPS") of $6.31 and Adjusted EPS of $6.77. These results were better than the company's guidance due to stronger close-in demand. The strength is continuing into 2024 with Adjusted EPS expected to be in the range of $9.50 to $9.70 per share.

"2023 was an exceptional year, propelled by unmatched demand for our brands from new and loyal guests," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "With the wind in our sails and record-breaking bookings, 2024 is poised to be another robust year, and we expect to achieve two of our Trifecta goals one year early," added Liberty. "With our industry-leading global brands combined with the most innovative fleet and destinations, we remain intensely focused on delivering a lifetime of vacations and priceless memories for our guests while delivering exceptional long-term shareholder value."

Full Year 2023 Results:

• Gross Margin Yields increased 13.2% as-reported. Net Yields increased 13.5% in Constant Currency (13.2% as-reported). Both metrics are compared to 2019.

• Gross Cruise Costs per Available Passenger Cruise Day ("APCD") increased 10.9% as-reported. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC"), excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 7.9% in Constant Currency (7.5% as-reported). Both metrics are compared to 2019, and include approximately 65 bps, compared to prior guidance, related to increase in stock compensation expense due to the significant rise in share price.

• Total revenues were $13.9 billion, Net Income was $1.7 billion or $6.31 per share, Adjusted Net Income was $1.8 billion or $6.77 per share, and Adjusted EBITDA was $4.5 billion.

Full Year 2024 Outlook:

• WAVE season is off to a record start. Booked load factors and rates are higher than all prior years.

• Net Yields are expected to increase 5.25% to 7.25% in Constant Currency (5.30% to 7.30% as-reported), compared to 2023.

• NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD is expected to increase 3.75% to 4.25% in Constant Currency (3.80% to 4.30% as-reported) compared to 2023, and include 315 bps of costs related to increased drydock days and the new operations of Hideaway Beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

• Adjusted EPS is expected to grow 40% year over year and be in the range of $9.50 to $9.70.

• Royal Caribbean said that it expects to achieve two of its Trifecta goals in 2024: triple digit EBITDA per APCD and ROIC in the teens, one year earlier than prior expectations.

Fourth Quarter 2023 Results

Net Income for the fourth quarter of 2023 was $0.3 billion or $1.06 per share compared to Net Loss of $(0.5) billion or $(1.96) per share for the same period in the prior year. Adjusted Net Income was $0.3 billion or $1.25 per share for the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to Adjusted Net Loss of $(0.3) billion or $(1.12) per share for the same period in the prior year. Royal Caribbean said that it also reported total revenues of $3.3 billion and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.0 billion.

Gross Margin Yields increased 30.9% as-reported, and Net Yields increased 17.9% in Constant Currency (17.3% as-reported) when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Load factor for the quarter was 105%.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 9.7% as-reported, compared to 2019. NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 6.7% in Constant Currency (6.2% as-reported), when compared to 2019 and included approximately 250 bps related to increase in stock compensation expense compared to prior guidance due to the significant rise in share price.

Full Year 2023 Results

For the full year 2023, Royal Caribbean said that it reported Net Income of $1.7 billion or $6.31 per share compared to Net Loss of $(2.2) billion or $(8.45) per share in the prior year. The company also reported Adjusted Net Income of $1.8 billion or $6.77 per share for the full year 2023 compared to Adjusted Net Loss of $(1.9) billion or $(7.50) per share in the prior year.

Gross Margin Yields increased 13.2% as-reported, and Net Yields increased 13.5% in Constant Currency (13.2% as-reported) when compared to 2019.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 10.9% as-reported and NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 7.9% in Constant Currency (7.5% as-reported), compared to 2019, and included 65 bps related to increase in stock compensation expense due to the significant rise in share price, compared to prior guidance.

Update on Bookings

Royal Caribbean said that it is very encouraged about the demand and pricing environment for 2024. Overall, the five best booking weeks of the company's history have occurred since the last earnings call, including the first three weeks of WAVE. As a result, Royal Caribbean said that it is now in a record booked position in both rate and volume. The booking strength is widespread benefiting all key itineraries. Consumer spending onboard and pre-cruise purchases continue to exceed prior years driven by greater participation at higher prices, indicating quality and healthy future demand.

The market response to the company's new ships (particularly Icon of the Seas), existing hardware and the expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay (with Hideaway Beach) has been excellent and further positions the company for strong yield and earnings growth in 2024.

"Demand for our brands continues to outpace broader travel as a result of consumer spend further shifting toward experiences and the exceptional value proposition of our products," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "We have exciting new vacation experiences in 2024, including the game changing Icon of the Seas, and have entered the year in a record booked position at significantly higher prices, further positioning us for a strong 2024."

As of December 31, 2023, the Group's customer deposit balance was at $5.3 billion.

First Quarter 2024

Net Yields are expected to increase 15.2% to 15.7% in Constant Currency (15.3% to 15.8% as-reported) compared to 2023. First quarter yield growth is benefiting from both Load factor catch up and the annualization of pricing power that began during WAVE of 2023.

NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD, is expected to increase 7.10% to 7.60% in Constant Currency (7.20% to 7.70% as-reported) compared to 2023 and includes 380 bps of costs related to increased drydock days and the operations of Hideaway Beach.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects first quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $1.10 to $1.20.

Liverpool Chosen to Host Naming Ceremony for Cunard's New Queen Anne
Cunard's spiritual home* is to host the spectacular Naming Ceremony for its newest ship Queen Anne.

The event will take place on the world-famous Mersey waterfront at Liverpool on Monday, June 3 during a celebratory "lap of honor" voyage around the British Isles.

Cunard's hosts** for the momentous spectacle will be none other than Busted musician, Matt Willis, and his TV presenter wife, Emma Willis. The power couple of British pop culture recorded this message revealing what guests can expect from the event.

Queen Anne's Naming Ceremony

Queen Anne is expected to arrive on the Mersey soon after sunrise on what promises to be the most eagerly awaited port of call on the exclusive 14-night voyage.

Plans are being made for her arrival to include a special salute to the city where Cunard's pioneering Transatlantic service – and passenger shipping itself – was launched in 1840, and where the iconic Cunard Building forms the centerpiece of the Three Graces.

The 14-night British Isles Festival Voyage will depart Southampton on May 24 with maiden calls to Edinburgh (South Queensferry), Invergordon, Greenock, Belfast, and Liverpool where guests sailing on the voyage will have an exclusive opportunity to join the Naming celebrations before a spectacular, late evening departure bound for Cobh followed by her return to Southampton.

The formal Naming will be the highlight of a day of celebration for Queen Anne, currently nearing completion in Italy.

The event in Liverpool is expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators to vantage points alongside the river at Pier Head, between New Brighton and Seacombe on Wirral, and on beaches at Formby and Crosby in Sefton. A live global broadcast will ensure the eyes of the world once again fall on a Cunard event in Liverpool.

Cunard ships have previously attracted more than a million spectators to the banks of the Mersey, first for the maiden call of the renowned QE2 in July 1990, and 2015 for the Three Queens 'royal rendezvous' in front of the Cunard Building to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the most famous name in shipping.

The British Isles Festival Voyage

Guests on the voyage will have an exclusive chance to be part of a unique event in Cunard's history that will include a host of surprise celebrations at Liverpool's world-famous Pier Head, with the original iconic Cunard Building at its heart.

An impressive line-up of eminent entertainers will give unforgettable live performances surrounding the official naming as Queen Anne makes her maiden call into Cunard's spiritual home.

The 14-night British Isles Festival voyage will depart Southampton on May 24 with maiden calls to Greenock, Belfast, Cork, and Liverpool and a program of exciting on-board experiences that showcase the best of Britain and Ireland's shores. The events in Liverpool will be a truly treasured memory for Cunard, on the historical waterfront of a city the brand has such an incredible bond with.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "Cunard has an incredible bond with the city of Liverpool. It is where our founder Sir Samuel Cunard began his transatlantic line in 1840, so what better place to officially name our new ship than somewhere that holds so many special memories? Queen Anne is the next in a fine line for our brand and she will be bursting with breath-taking moments around every corner, evolving our core values of luxury, sophistication, and glamour. Liverpool is known the world over as Cunard's spiritual home and we are all so excited for the city to see Queen Anne up close on her maiden call."

Matt and Emma Willis added: "We're delighted to be part of such a fantastic occasion and can't wait to join everyone in Liverpool for an exciting and action-packed day, full of surprises and celebrations. Mersey waterfront will be brought to life on June 3, as world famous entertainers are set to put on a spectacular show. It's going to be a day to remember, and we can't wait to welcome the fourth Queen to the iconic Cunard fleet."

Councillor Liam Robinson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "It's a huge honor for Liverpool to be chosen as the location for the official naming of Queen Anne. The city and Cunard share a rich history, we are the original home of the world-famous cruise line and we staged the incredible spectacle of the Three Queens on the Mersey in 2015, which lives long in many people's memories. This is yet another prestigious, international event taking place in our city, casting Liverpool into the limelight once again and showcasing our enviable maritime offer. The naming ceremony is set to be a majestic sight and I'm sure it will attract huge crowds to the waterfront who want to be part of this unique moment in ours and Cunard's history."

Further details of timings, activities, and spectator information for Queen Anne's visit to Liverpool will be published in due course.

Carnival Announces 22-day Voyage From Seattle to Sydney
As it continues to offer guests more diversity in itinerary offerings, Carnival Cruise Line today announced a new transpacific Carnival Journeys cruise for 2025 on Carnival Luminosa. When the ship repositions from its Alaska season and returns to Australia, it will sail a 22-day voyage that visits breathtaking destinations, including Hawaii and several South Pacific islands.

The new sailing’s itinerary begins with a departure from Seattle, Wash. on Sept. 18, 2025, with Carnival Luminosa arriving in Sydney, Australia on Oct. 11, 2025. Destinations during the cruise include Honolulu, Hawaii; Papeete (Tahiti) and Moorea, French Polynesia along with Noumea, New Caledonia. To see more details about this sailing, click here.

This is the latest addition to the expanding Carnival Journeys program, special sailings that feature unique travel experiences and destinations. Carnival continues to tap into interest from guests in longer sailings by adding unique voyages around ship repositionings and dry dock schedules. The Carnival Journeys program currently offers five other transpacific sailings open for sale, with four set to sail this year and another in 2025. Additionally, nine transatlantic Carnival Journeys cruises are open for sale – with three scheduled this year and six for 2025. A sample of currently available ocean-crossing cruises is as follows:

Additional Transpacific Cruises Currently Available

• 18-day from Long Beach (Los Angeles), Calif. to Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan on Carnival Panorama departing Aug. 22, 2024

• 29-day from Brisbane, Australia to Seattle, Wash. on Carnival Luminosa departing April 3, 2025

Additional Transatlantic Cruises Currently Available

• 12-day from Baltimore, Md. to Barcelona, Spain on Carnival Legend departing April 15, 2024

• 14-day from Barcelona, Spain to Port Canaveral (Orlando), Fla. on Carnival Glory departing April 18, 2024

• 14-day from Barcelona, Spain to Miami, Fla. on Carnival Spirit departing March 16, 2025

• 16-day from New Orleans, La. to Barcelona, Spain on Carnival Valor departing April 24

• 14-day from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Fla. to Barcelona, Spain on Mardi Gras departing Sept. 13, 2025

Villa Vie Residences Secures Dry Dock and Operational Partners
Villa Vie Residences (VVR), the innovative new world cruise brand and residential community at sea, has announced they will send their ship Villa Vie Odyssey to Belfast in cooperation with Harland & Wolff in early March. This voyage marks the beginning of an extraordinary journey, and they have partnered with industry leaders to ensure an unparalleled experience.

VVR CEO Mikael Petterson states, "We are beyond excited to take possession of our beautiful Odyssey and head to the Belfast Yard with such amazing history." Mikael Continues, "We are hiring only the best operational partners in the industry to execute on our aggressive timeline."

VVR has enlisted Columbia Blue to oversee both Technical and Hotel operations, bringing their 35-year expertise managing hundreds of ships worldwide to the VVR family. Julia Siebert, Managing Director of Columbia Cruise Services, eagerly anticipates setting sail on May 15th, stating, "We are excited to join the Villa Vie family and are looking forward to getting the ship ready to sail in May."

For the ship's dry dock and refurbishment, VVR has chosen the historic Belfast yard, where the iconic Titanic was built. This 10-week transformation promises to be a captivating journey in itself. Villa Vie Residences have planned ship visits and events in Belfast for Journalists and Residents on March 23rd-24th.

VVR has also partnered with VIKAND Solutions for onboard medical services, a company renowned for managing over 4,000 daily medical encounters at sea and supporting over 300,000 crew members and passengers worldwide. "Villa Vie Residences presents a very unique opportunity for VIKAND to expand our medical services and support such a unique lifestyle and the challenges that come with it," says Peter Hult – Founder & CEO VIKAND Solutions.

Reliable Maritime Solutions will act as technical superintendents, ensuring the reactivation and project's overall success, bringing over 50 years of combined maritime operations and compliance experience to the table.

Carnival Corporation Announces Ambitious 2024 Greenhouse Gas Intensity Reduction Projections
Carnival Corporation today announced it is on pace to achieve an overall 18% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity on a lower berth capacity basis in 2024 (compared to 2019) – just a few points shy of its 20% reduction goal originally targeted for 2030. By year end, the company expects to have reduced its GHG emission intensity by an impressive 42% on a lower berth capacity basis since its first benchmark in 2008. The company also expects this performance to put it ahead of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) 2030 carbon intensity reduction timeline.

This announcement follows the company's decision last year to accelerate its stated 2030 GHG intensity reduction goal by four years, committing to at least a 20% cut on a lower berth capacity basis by 2026 (versus 2019 levels). Thanks to the company's aggressive, longstanding, and ongoing actions to be more energy efficient, reduce overall fuel use, and operate using emission-reducing technologies and lower-emission fuels, Carnival Corporation is producing 10+% less total GHG emissions today than its peak historical year (2011), despite increasing capacity by roughly 30% since that time.

How It's Being Done

Carnival Corporation is executing on two parallel paths to achieve these significant reductions.

First, the company recognizes that using less fuel is the fastest way to reduce GHG emissions and make a tangible impact. Since cruise ships generate their electricity from fuel, Carnival Corporation set out to uncover every area where energy can be saved and cut the amount of fuel used. As a result, the company has implemented several fuel- and energy-saving innovations and continues to invest in improvements to drive further reductions. This includes:

• Upgrading the fleet with innovative technology packages, including modern and efficient HVAC systems, state-of-the-art LED and smart lighting technologies, remote monitoring improvements and more to reduce fuel usage by 5-10% per ship.

• Optimizing hull design and special coatings to minimize drag for greater fuel efficiency.

• Developing more energy-efficient itineraries, fine-tuning hydrodynamics, and using ocean currents and techniques such as weather routing and speed reduction where possible.

• Using shoreside electric power capabilities when available in port – over 60% of the company's ships are equipped to switch off their engines and "plug in" to local power grids while docked to reduce emissions and noise in port.

• Installing Air Lubrication Systems (ALS) to help ships glide on a cushion of air bubbles with less friction, reducing fuel use for propulsion by up to 5%.

At the same time, lacking zero-emission fuels broadly available to the maritime industry and with fossil fuels as the only viable option at scale today, Carnival Corporation has continued to look for ways to lower GHG and other emissions from the fuel already used while also pioneering lower-emission alternatives and actively exploring new technologies to power its ships. This includes:

• Leading the industry with nine Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-capable ships in service and two more on order. This is delivering immediate GHG reductions, reducing direct carbon emissions by up to 20%, almost eliminating sulfur dioxides and significantly reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

• Improving air emissions with Advanced Air Quality Systems to "scrub" particulate matter and other compounds from ships' exhaust.

• Trialing advanced fuel technologies, including a first-of-its-kind lithium-ion battery storage system, testing fuel cells powered by hydrogen derived from methanol and leading the industry in piloting biofuels as a fossil fuel replacement.

Environmental Commitment

Overall, the company continues to invest significantly in its deep-rooted commitment to protecting its communities, vibrant marine ecosystems, and scenic spaces. This includes ongoing reductions in GHG emissions from its operations and its strategy to pursue net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050 as part of its long-term sustainability vision and commitment to leading the way in sustainable cruising.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.83 - 4.35%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.21 - 4.85%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.14 - 3.49%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The STEFAN BATORY or Polish Ocean Lines was the last vessel with regularly scheduled trans-atlantic service (aside from the QE2). In her earlier Holland America life she was named MAASDAM. courtesy of Christopher in L.A


Cruise News - January 29, 2024

Royal Caribbean and Lionel Messi Celebrate Icon of the Seas
Less than a week shy of Royal Caribbean International's 55th anniversary, the cruise line and world-renowned sports icon Lionel Messi – The Icon of Icon – officially debuted the all-new Icon of the Seas at a standout naming celebration in Miami. The first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation was the star of the show, as the most decorated fútbol player in history bestowed safekeeping onto the world's best family vacation, the dedicated crew and the millions of families who will make memories on board for years to come.

"Family is everything to me, and it was exciting to take part in welcoming what is the world's best family vacation to Miami," said Lionel Messi, Royal Caribbean's Icon of Icon. "Everything I've seen on Icon of the Seas is next level. There are experiences for the whole family to make memories that they'll remember forever."

The milestone moment seven years in the making, hosted by four-time Emmy award-winning host Mario Lopez, was held in the AquaDome neighborhood – an engineering and experiential feat in itself that represents the record-setting lineup of experiences in store on Icon. Ringing in the new era of vacations was Royal Caribbean executives, crew, employees, fans and partners, including Meyer Turku shipyard and Inter Miami CF.

"Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating and living our mission – to deliver the world's best vacation experiences responsibly. She is the ultimate multigenerational family vacation, forever changing the status quo in family travel and fulfilling vacation dreams for all ages on board," said Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty. "With Lionel Messi presiding over the ship's naming, we are thrilled and honored to have someone iconic for delivering memories for millions of fútbol fans around the world and who values making iconic memories with his family even more."

Messi, the only eight-time Ballon d'Or award-winner and TIME's 2023 Athlete of the Year, inaugurated the highly anticipated vacation with a bottle breaking fit for an icon that has set records in its own right. When first revealed in October 2022, Icon spurred the single largest booking day and the highest volume booking week in the cruise line's then 53-year history. The Icon of Icon was also joined on stage by President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group Jason Liberty, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley and Icon's captain, Henrik Loy.

"We did it! After seven years of pursuing the bold vision to create a one-of-a-kind vacation for every type of family and adventurer, Icon of the Seas has become a reality," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Officially naming Icon marks more than the introduction of a new ship; it is the start of a new era of vacations, and we're excited to see tens of millions of families and friends make their mark with memories they create together and on their own adventures without compromise."

In store on Icon is an all-encompassing lineup of experiences that combines the best of every vacation – from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure. Across eight neighborhoods that are destinations in and of themselves are firsts and next-level favorites for everyone day and night, including adrenaline-pumping thrills like six record-breaking waterslides at Category 6 and the Crown's Edge experience at 154 feet above the ocean, and unrivaled ways to chill with seven pools – one for every day of the week – like the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The game-changing experiences also include a stay-all-day neighborhood designed for families with young kids, more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges; deck-defying entertainment across air, ice, water and theater; and more.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, vacationers will get away on the new vacation for the first time and island hop in the tropics. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami features idyllic destinations in the Caribbean and an unmatched day of thrill and chill at Royal Caribbean's award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island's first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.

Carnival Jubilee Rescues Two Men Stranded on Kayak in Gulf of Mexico
Carnival Jubilee's team rescued two men who were stranded in a kayak in the Gulf of Mexico today. The men said their boat sank, and they used the kayak to stay afloat.

The ship’s team members spotted the two men off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico and quickly rescued them. They were welcomed onto the ship safely and were evaluated by the ship’s medical staff and given first aid and food.

The ship’s team and Carnival’s Fleet Operation Center staff in Miami kept in close contact with Mexican Navy officials and arranged a transfer, which was completed shortly after the rescue.

Carnival Jubilee is proceeding with its regular schedule and will visit Mahogany Bay, Roatan on Tuesday.

Holland America Takes Cruisers to Australia and New Zealand in 2025-2026
For guests dreaming of a cruise vacation to the Land Down Under, Holland America Line's Australia and New Zealand season sailing from November 2025 to March 2026 is now open for booking. From vibrant capital cities to captivating scenery, Holland America Line's cruises to Australia and New Zealand are a tapestry of diverse landscapes and unique cultures.

Collectors' Voyages combine a 14-day cruise Down Under with a Legendary Voyage to create an extended vacation

The 14-day itineraries aboard Noordam allow travelers to easily journey between the two countries and visit the best locales in the region — all while experiencing Holland America Line's award-winning service and authentic, localized programming. New Collectors' Voyages combine a two-week cruise with an epic Legendary Voyage to the South Pacific, creating a longer vacation up to 50 days across several cruising regions.

"Australia and New Zealand are excellent options for cruisers looking for global destinations, iconic cities and wild wonders," said Beth Bodensteiner, Holland America Line's chief commercial officer. "We craft our cruises to showcase the best of each region. With these voyages, guests can immerse themselves in New Zealand in a port-intensive itinerary that also features scenic cruising through Milford Sound, or they can see wildlife like penguins and kangaroos while exploring South Australia."

Holland America Line's Australia and New Zealand cruises sail roundtrip from Sydney, Australia, or between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand.

Highlights of the 2025-2026 Australia and New Zealand Season

• All cruises are aboard Noordam.

• "Australia and New Zealand" — 14 days, between Sydney and Auckland:
- Departures in November, February and March.
- Combination of ports in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand:
- All cruises call at Melbourne, Australia; Hobart and/or Burnie, Tasmania; and Tauranga, Napier and Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand.
- Additional New Zealand ports include a combination of Picton, Wellington, Timaru, Lyttelton (Christchurch) and Waitangi.

• "New Zealand Discovery" — 14 days, roundtrip from Sydney:
- Departs Dec. 7, 2025.
- All New Zealand Ports: Auckland, Waitangi, Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton (Christchurch) and Port Chalmers (Dunedin).

• "South Australia Discovery Holiday" — 14 days, roundtrip from Sydney:
- Departs Dec. 21, 2025.
- Melbourne, Phillip Island, Eden, Adelaide and Penneshaw, Australia; Burnie, Port Arthur and Hobart (late departure), Tasmania.

• All itineraries that visit New Zealand include scenic cruising in the stunning Milford Sound located within Fiordland National Park.

• Holland America Line's Global Fresh Fish Program brings native fresh fish and other local ingredients on board like New Zealand green lipped muscles, Tasmanian Atlantic salmon, Sydney rock oysters and Tasmanian meat pies.

• Book Back-to-Back Cruises with a Collectors' Voyage Noordam will sail five Collectors' Voyages that combine back-to-back, nonrepeating itineraries that allow guests to explore multiple areas in one seamless voyage. These Collectors' Voyages range between 28 and 50 days and merge two 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruises, or one14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise with a Legendary Voyage to the South Pacific.

41-day "South Pacific Crossing & New Zealand" Collectors' Voyage

• Departs Oct. 12, 2025; from Seattle, Washington, to Auckland.

28-day "New Zealand & South Australia Discovery" Collectors' Voyage

• Departs Dec. 7, 2025; roundtrip from Sydney.

42-day "South Australia & South Pacific Islands" Collectors' Voyage

• Departs Dec. 21, 2025; from Sydney to Auckland.

42-day "South Pacific Islands & New Zealand" Collectors' Voyage

• Departs Jan. 4, 2026; roundtrip from Sydney.

50-day "New Zealand & South Pacific Crossing" Collectors' Voyage

• Departs March 1, 2026; from Auckland to Seattle.

Carnival's New Celebration Key to Feature Five Distinct Areas
The new cruise destination everyone is buzzing about is getting a closer look as Carnival Cruise Line today revealed further details of Celebration Key™, the new exclusive destination on Grand Bahama designed to offer guests a key for unlocking their type of paradise.

Honoring the natural beauty and culture of Grand Bahama, Celebration Key will deliver endless opportunities for relaxation and recreation across five distinct areas called portals, featuring the largest freshwater lagoons in the Caribbean*, a breathtaking white sand beach, an exclusive adult-only private club, spaces designed to maximize family fun and a variety of dining venues and libation stations all in one breathtaking place. A special Celebration Key video, which can be seen here, offers a glimpse into the fun in store for guests beginning in July 2025.

Celebration Key is a featured destination on more than 500 cruise itineraries currently open for sale on 18 Carnival ships sailing from nine U.S. homeports.

New Details Give First Look at Five Portals

• The Welcome Portal is the point where guests are first immersed in the beauty of the destination and greeted with information to help guide them toward their own kind of fun. As live music fills the air, a much-larger-than-life sandcastle stands tall in the center of Celebration Key as the embodiment of all that is fun in the sun.

• The Family-Friendly Portal is the place for families with kids of all ages to enjoy their time at Celebration Key. The day can include swimming in the large freshwater lagoon, alongside a splash pad with a shallow pool, two exciting racing waterslides in the large sandcastle, sports courts, spaces designed for kids and teens to enjoy, a beautiful beach with all types of beach loungers and a variety of cabana rentals, including beach cabanas, villas with personal slides into the lagoon and floating cabanas. There are not only activities for the whole family, but also a variety of dining options and cuisines, that will appeal to all taste buds.

• The Adult-Friendly Portal is designed for adults looking to spend their day enjoying the freshwater lagoon or at the beach lounging on the warm white sands and splashing around in the Bahamian waters to kick back and relax. Guests can also find their favorite cocktails at a large swim-up bar while they enjoy a high energy vibe curated by a talented DJ. A variety of cabana rentals, including beach cabanas, villas with personal slides into the lagoon and floating cabanas are available. There are also several dining venues, including a full-service restaurant that will offer a variety of cuisines, including local Bahamian flavors.

• The Private Club Portal is a premium experience curated for those who are seeking a relaxing and luxurious day in paradise. The private club is an adult-only retreat, with a stunning infinity pool, overlooking the best views of the Bahamian waters, with loungers swaying beneath palm trees and vibrant foliage. A dedicated section of the beach provides premier and private access, along with elevated dining experiences.

• The Retail Portal will showcase Bahamian culture, featuring a backdrop of beautiful murals painted by Bahamian artists and shopping that will include authentic Bahamian artisanal goods and local Bahamian retailers, along with Duty-Free stores. As they explore this portal, guests will also find several food and beverage options serving Bahamian flavors.

"No one does FUN like Carnival and we are designing Celebration Key, and its five portals, with endless ways for our guests to unlock their own kind of fun in this incredible paradise that also celebrates the beauty of Grand Bahama," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Celebration Key is uniquely positioned to bring an island experience to our diverse range of guests, in a way that lets them choose their slice of 'paradise.'"

Carnival ships will dock at an adjacent cruise pier that can accommodate up to two of the cruise line's largest ships simultaneously and will allow guests direct access to the destination. Celebration Key will also include an events pavilion that is dedicated to hosting weddings, vow renewals and other special celebrations.

Cunard Launches its 2024 Showcases
In 2024, Cunard Showcases will transport you to worlds of discovery through the power of live performances.

With a spectacular line-up of critically acclaimed shows, exclusive to Cunard, this new program of entertainment is the first of its kind at sea, in collaboration with award-winning theatre producers, directors, writers, choreographers, and performers.

Alongside shows in the Royal Court Theatre, Cunard Showcases put you at the heart of the action. From gripping dramas to interactive theatre and multisensory dining, get set for one-of-a-kind events that will delight all your senses.

You can even go behind the scenes with the "In conversation with" events and workshops with stage and screen talent.

Available on select voyages, you can feel the groove of the beat in the Royal Court Theatre, as the acclaimed original West End cast of "The Drifters Girl" musical deliver a powerhouse performance of togetherness, unity, camaraderie, and friendship in "Kings of the Boardwalk".

The "Opera Cocktail" delivers a new twist on some of the best-loved arias, duets, and ensembles in a fun, modern setting, as it's performed in witty new English translations and acted in an engaging, intimate style.

Elsewhere, look forward to unique puppetry skills during the "Gulliver" extravaganza, which tells the tale of Gulliver, a traveler and pioneer, who returns after nine years lost at sea, with stories of undiscovered lands and creatures.

Get involved in solving a mystery with the "Cluedo! The Interactive Game," where you step into a world of 1930s high society where intrigue and secrets are the order of the day. Then there's the Circa Contemporary Circus, which will perform on Queen Elizabeth for a six-week residency, featuring full-scale acrobatics and theatrical productions, as well as workshops and Q&As.

History will be made in March when Rodgers & Hammerstein's timeless "South Pacific" is performed for the first time at sea. Fancy another classic? Shakespeare's blockbuster comedy "Twelfth Night" is delivered by the Pursuit Theatre.

"Discovering Antarctica: Heroic Tales of Shackleton, Crean and Scott" is an engrossing story of extraordinary polar endeavors, while Appraisal is a real-time comedy-drama that follows an annual professional work review gone wrong. Sherlock Holmes' ever-reliable sidekick Watson also gets center stage in "Watson: The Final Problem," as he embarks on a journey across Europe while being pursued by Moriarty.

Cunard Showcases itineraries include:

Australia on Queen Elizabeth:
- February 1 – February 20 – Circa
- February 13 – February 20 – Circa
- February 20 – March 5 – Circa
- March 5 – March 7 – Circa
- March 7 – March 10 – Circa
- March 10 – March 28 – South Pacific

World Voyage on Queen Mary 2:
- February 27 – March 6 – Cluedo! The Interactive Game

Transatlantic on Queen Mary 2:
- June 9 – June 15 – Twelfth Night
- July 6 – July 14 – Victorine: The Artist's Model' & The Poetical Life of Philomena McGuinness
- July 27 – August 4 – Appraisal & Watson: The Final Problem

Queen Elizabeth in Alaska:
- July 1 – July 11 – Discovering Antarctica: Heroic Tales of Shackleton, Crean and Scott

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.55 - 0.54%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.39 + 0.51%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.76 + 1.60%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed? .

Answer - Temporary pools were usually heavy canvas lined open cargo hatches. Some with supported bottoms. courtesy of Bill Deibert, Alexandria, VA.


Cruise News - January 22, 2024

Sun Princess Delivery Postponed
Princess Cruises and Fincantieri have mutually agreed to delay delivery of Sun Princess, the largest vessel ever constructed in Italy and the first ship of a revolutionary new platform designed exclusively for the Princess brand.

The postponement has regrettably led to the cancellation of the ship's inaugural 10-day voyage, originally set to depart from Barcelona on February 8th.

"We understand that this news is disappointing, and we share in that disappointment. We recognize the anticipation that surrounded this sailing, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this cancellation causes," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.

Guests who were booked on of the inaugural voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise fare along with any additional onboard services that were pre-purchased, as well as a 50% future cruise credit (FCC) that can be used on a future Princess voyage*. Guests also will receive up to $200 per person for change fees related to air travel plans.

Holland America Line Adds More Epic 'Legendary Voyages' in 2025-2026
Holland America Line is unveiling four new "Legendary Voyages" including a rare roundtrip 45-day cruise from New York to the Mediterranean and a unique 28-day exploration of the South Pacific Islands. As travelers' interest in longer cruises grows, these region-centric journeys, which will depart in 2025 and early 2026, give guests the opportunity to foster deeper connections and engage more intimately with the destinations visited.

Four new cruises offer unique and immersive travel experiences

Departing Oct. 7, 2025, the 45-Day "Ultimate Mediterranean & Atlantic Passage" Legendary Voyage aboard Volendam is a special sailing roundtrip from New York that spans the Med, inspired by a voyage operated by the line 100 years ago. Guests will visit 20 ports — many of which were visited in 1925 — in Portugal, Spain, U.K., Italy, Tunisia, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. Overnights include Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; and Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt. Guests will enjoy late departures from Gibraltar, U.K.; Barcelona, Spain; Istanbul and Alexandria.

"Based on the popularity of our 2024 Ultimate Mediterranean cruise, it's clear that guests are eager for more in-depth exploration of the region," said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer for Holland America Line. "Being able to offer this cruise roundtrip from New York City in 2025 creates a rare opportunity for people in North America to enjoy the Med and our award-winning service without a long flight."

For a one-of-a-kind island-hopping adventure, guests can embark Noordam Jan. 4, 2026, for the 28-day "Islands of the South Pacific" Legendary Voyage. This meticulously planned itinerary sails from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, visiting 20 ports across seven countries. The ship will sail along the east coast of Australia, with four calls in Queensland and an opportunity to snorkel at the famed Great Barrier Reef. The ship then calls at the Conflict Islands en route to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, before three calls in New Zealand.

"The South Pacific is home to some of the most popular ports for cruisers. We worked to create an itinerary like no other in this region, with multiple calls to islands that are less traveled and a must-see for anyone looking to experience all that the region has to offer at an unhurried pace," said Paul Grigsby, Holland America Line's vice president for deployment and itinerary planning.

Other Newly Announced 2025-2026 Legendary Voyages:

Cruisers who like relaxing sea days combined with visits to some of the most beautiful islands in the world have two Legendary Voyages to choose from in 2025 and 2026:

• The 27-Day 'South Pacific Crossing' Legendary Voyage aboard Noordam departs Oct. 12, 2025, and sails from Seattle, Washington, to Sydney. The ship will traverse hemispheres with visits to nine ports across the Pacific Ocean, including four in the island nation of Fiji. An overnight and late departure from Honolulu, Hawaii, allow extra time for experiencing the city's culture, cuisine and history.

• The 36-day 'South Pacific Crossing' Legendary Voyage aboard Noordam departs March 15, 2026. Sailing from Sydney to Seattle, the ship explores 17 ports throughout New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Hawaii with overnight stays at Papeete, Tahiti; and Honolulu, along with late departures from Honolulu and Kona, Hawaii.

The four new Legendary Voyages join eight previously announced itineraries that are offered in 2025 and 2026. Additional 2025-2026 Legendary Voyages:

28-Day 'Alaska Arctic Circle Solstice' Legendary Voyage - Departs June 8, 2025; sails roundtrip Seattle aboard Westerdam.

28-Day 'Arctic Circle Crossing: Greenland and Iceland' Legendary Voyage - Departs June 29, 2025; sails roundtrip Rotterdam or June 28, 2025; roundtrip Dover aboard Nieuw Statendam.

25-Day 'Canada, New England, Greenland and Iceland' Legendary Voyage - Departs July 12, 2025; sails roundtrip from Boston aboard Volendam.

35-Day 'Voyage of the Vikings' Legendary Voyage - Departs July 19, 2025; sails roundtrip from Boston aboard Zuiderdam.

28-Day 'Glaciers & Volcanoes: Alaska to Hawaii' Legendary Voyage - Departs Aug. 31, 2025; sails roundtrip Seattle aboard Westerdam.

56-Day 'Tales of the South Pacific' Legendary Voyage - Departs Sept. 24, 2025; from Vancouver to San Diego aboard Zaandam.

30-Day 'Amazon Explorer' Legendary Voyage - Departs Nov. 21, 2025; from New York to Fort Lauderdale aboard Volendam.

35-Day 'Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas' Legendary Voyage - Departs Feb. 14, 2026; roundtrip San Diego aboard Nieuw Amsterdam.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Annouces Immersive Overnights Sailings
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced a collection of six unique Immersive Overnights voyages where each port of call features an overnight stay – allowing for deeper exploration and discovery in much-loved destinations.

Exclusive New Collection of Voyages will Feature an Industry-First with Overnight Stays in Every Port of Call

These voyages, currently on board four of the six ships in The World's Most Luxurious Fleet, will include special shoreside experiences exclusively crafted to make each overnight call a memorable part of the journey. Destinations featured in the Immersive Overnights collection are the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Asia and all six sailings are included in Regent's Upgrade Your Horizon offer where guests receive a FREE 2-Category Suite Upgrade and low deposits.

"Regent's history of innovation is what made us industry leaders in ultra-luxury cruising, and we continually strive to elevate the unrivaled Regent experience for our discerning and well-traveled guests," said Andrea DeMarco, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Our Immersive Overnights collection featuring an overnight stay in every single port of call will change the way luxury travelers cruise. These extended overnight experiences will allow guests unparalleled immersion in a range of incredible global destinations from Incheon, South Korea; to Zadar, Croatia; to Stockholm, Sweden."

Immersive Overnights allows luxury cruisers to see another side of fascinating destinations with 26 evening shore excursions created especially for Regent. These exciting evening shore excursions include an exploration of world-class art from the likes of Picasso, Rodin, and Munch in the home of a Swedish prince; sunset wine-tasting at a Tuscan villa; and a Michelin star dinner in Athens. This is just a sampling of what is to come with additional evening shore excursions and unique multi-night overland tours in Italy, Croatia, France, Greece, Germany, and Finland to be announced soon.

As well as day and evening shore excursions – many of which are complimentary as part of Regent's free unlimited shore excursion program – as part of the voyage fare, guests will enjoy round-trip business-class air on intercontinental flights from the U.S. and Canada, gourmet cuisine in a range of specialty restaurants and al fresco dining venues, fine wines and spirits, in-suite liquor and mini bar replenished daily, entertainment, unlimited internet access, valet laundry service, pre-paid gratuities onboard, transfers between airport, hotel and ship, and a one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher.

Sample Evening Shore Excursion: Sunset Wine Tasting & Dinner at a Tuscan Villa

Savor the sumptuous flavors of the Mediterranean in quaint tavernas and historic villas, including Villa Dianella, an elegant Tuscan estate where the famed Medici family hunted during the 16th century. As an introduction to the area, travelers will first explore the nearby town of San Miniato. Perched atop a ridge high above the Arno Valley, the town is known for its white truffles, including a record-breaking one that weighed well over four pounds. Following a full day of exploration, gourmands will enjoy a wine tasting and beautiful evening meal at Villa Dianella, prepared with locally sourced Tuscan ingredients. The seasonal menu may include a paccheri pasta with pecorino cheese and a wonderfully seasoned chicken dish with roasted vegetables. The tasting in the wine cellar will be just as memorable as the selections will be organic – guests will sample a blend made with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and perhaps an Orpicchio white varietal.

Sample Day Shore Excursion: Bocelli Music & Art

Guests will enjoy a private piano concert and lunch at a restaurant in Rome and see the Eternal City's signature attractions on a panoramic tour. The immersion into all things Roman will begin with an enlightening drive through the capital, perfect for spotting icons such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Circus Maximus, the massive stadium where the Romans once held chariot races. It will also serve as the venue for the piano concert of Italian classics with an accomplished singer as accompaniment. During the inspired lunch that follows, wines produced on the Tuscan estate of Andrea Bocelli's family will complement each course. The sommelier will describe the characteristics of the wines and how the Bocellis produce them. Guests will then view even more iconic locations such as St. Peter's Square while exploring Vatican City.

Princess Cruises Showcases Top Reasons to Visit Canada & New England for Upcoming 2024 Season
The upcoming Canada & New England 2024 cruise season from Princess Cruises offers guests the chance to explore the many wonders of the region, including Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, recently named one of "The Best Places to Visit" in 2024 by CNN.

Saint John gives visitors access to the famous Bay of Fundy, known for having the world's largest tides and is featured on 15 Princess cruises during the highly-anticipated 2024 season. In addition, several scenic coastal New England & Canadian ports showcase the pages of history and stunning natural beauty blended seamlessly onboard a Princess vacation, the cruise line recognized for delivering the "Best Canada and New England Itineraries" by Porthole Magazine.

"We bring a desired mix of destinations on our award-winning Canada & New England itineraries so our guests can easily explore charming must-see ports in this storied region," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer for Princess. "From our premium onboard experience to new itineraries, turnaround ports and enticing shore excursions, we give our guests all that this spectacular area has to offer in the temperate summer months through the fall that is bursting with vibrant colors."

With cruises on sale now, here are the top reasons to visit Canada & New England with Princess in 2024:

Two Dozen Memorable Cruises: Princess sails on 25 departures for the upcoming June through October 2024 season, with three amenity-filled Love Boats sailing from New York City, Quebéc City and Boston (NEW!), offering easy drive-in access to celebrated turnaround ports and attractive air service from all over the U.S.

History Buffs Unite with Perfect Lead Up to the Sestercentennial, Marking 250th Birthday of the U.S.: For the first time ever, Princess offers a series of Colonial Heritage itineraries featuring Yorktown, Va., part of Virginia's Historic Triangle, the gateway to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, along with stops at charming and history-rich Charleston, Boston and Halifax or Saint John. Island Princess sails roundtrip from New York on June 4, 14 and 25, 2024.

New "Beantown" Homeport Departures: What better way to start a Canada & New England exploration than from Boston, famous for the Freedom Trail, legendary sports teams and an ever-enticing dining scene with fresh local produce and seafood. A new home port, Emerald Princess sails seven-day roundtrip cruises from Boston visiting Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Portland or Bar Harbor, as well as 10-day Boston to Quebéc City (or vice versa) including Saint John for the Bay of Fundy and Charlottetown for Prince Edward Island, plus an overnight in Quebéc City. For those looking for a longer unique itinerary, a 17-day cruise combines the best of the East Coast with three visits to ports in remote Greenland, with opportunities to see magnificent fjords and stunning landscapes. Emerald Princess cruises from Boston July 14 - October 7, 2024.

Enchanted Cruises: With the awe-inspiring moment of sailing underneath the Verrazzano Bridge after passing the beautiful Statue of Liberty, Enchanted Princess sails roundtrip from New York City on seven-day cruises visiting Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Halifax and Saint John for Bay of Fundy (on select cruises). Cruises depart August 24, 31; September 7, 14, 21, 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26, 2024.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.64 - 1.89%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 126.74 + 4.56%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.48 + 4.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Name the last pair of ocean liners to be built with an overhanging, counter stern (...such as on the Titanic and many other early twentieth century ocean liners).

Answer - The ships are the Indepndence and Constitution of American Export Lines. courtesy of Sidney Wusthoff, Metairie, LA


Cruise News - January 15, 2024

Royal Caribbean's Highly Anticipated Icon of the Seas Arrives for the First Time
The new year is kicking off with an iconic celebration. Today, Royal Caribbean International's highly anticipated Icon of the Seas took center stage as it arrived in Miami for the first time. The first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation was welcomed with fanfare by air, land and sea, ahead of its official debut on Jan. 27.

Counting down to the start of a new era of vacations, local residents and Royal Caribbean fans, executives and employees were on hand as the first to see Miami's newest resident. Icon arrived to PortMiami in style, with celebratory fireboat salutes, banner planes in flight and a community celebration at Pérez Art Museum to mark the new vacation's first appearance of many to come in the Magic City. With the introduction of the world's best family vacation less than 20 days away, Icon will continue making its final preparations in Miami ahead of an iconic naming celebration and first cruise.

In store on Icon is an all-encompassing lineup of experiences that combines the best of every vacation – from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure – making the first-of-its-kind adventure the way to get away for every type of family and vacationer. Across eight neighborhoods that are destinations in and of themselves are firsts and next-level favorites for everyone day and night, including adrenaline-pumping thrills like six record-breaking waterslides at Category 6 and the Crown's Edge experience at 154 feet above the ocean, and unrivaled ways to chill with seven pools – one for every day of the week – like the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The game-changing experiences also include a stay-all-day neighborhood designed for families with young kids, more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges; deck-defying entertainment across air, ice, water and theater; and more.

Starting Jan. 27, vacationers can get away on Icon and island hop in the tropics at any time of the year. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami features idyllic destinations in the Caribbean and an unmatched day of thrill and chill at Royal Caribbean's award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island's first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.

Viking Announces First-of-their-kind China Voyages
Viking today announced three new, first-of-their-kind itineraries that will provide guests with exclusive access to China in 2024. The new voyages range from 10 to 20 days and explore iconic cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Each itinerary also includes a domestic sailing of China's coast that highlights rarely-seen destinations and ports to which only Viking has access—something that has never before been offered for international visitors. The new voyages will operate from September to November on the Viking Yi Dun—formerly the Viking Sun—a sister ship featuring the same award-winning design and service as all other ocean ships in Viking's fleet. The Chinese-flagged Viking Yi Dun will be the first ship dedicated specifically to the foreign market to operate domestic sailings in China. Each voyage will offer The Viking Way of exploration, with immersive experiences to introduce guests to the people, history and culture of China, including insightful lectures, Chinese-inspired cuisine and destination experts. ­

Viking today announced three new, first-of-their-kind voyages that will provide guests with exclusive access to China in 2024. The new itineraries range from 10 to 20 days and will operate from September to November on the Viking Yi Dun—formerly the Viking Sun—a sister ship on Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet. Pictured here, the Viking Yi Dun docked in Shanghai. For more information, visit www.viking.com. "We are proud that Viking will be the first to operate domestic sailings in China for international travelers. Our guests are curious travelers who are interested in experiences that broaden their mind—and China, with one of the richest cultures in the world, has been inspiring travelers for centuries," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "For more than 15 years, our Yangtze River voyages were among our highest-rated itineraries. We brought guests to China's Yangtze River, to Beijing, to the Great Wall, to the Terra Cotta Warriors and to many other iconic places in this captivating nation. We introduced the real China to our guests, and visiting local school children was always a particular highlight. Now, we are delighted to offer such encounters once again with new voyages to a destination that never ceases to capture the imagination."

New China Voyages

• Wonders of China — 20 days; Beijing roundtrip — This comprehensive 20-day cruisetour itinerary delivers China's main highlights. Guests can meet a Tibetan family at their home, walk on the Great Wall and see the Terra Cotta Warriors. Additionally, guests experience the scenic coast of Dongtou and have opportunities to explore Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Shenzhen, a UNESCO city of design.

• Classic China & the Coast — 15 days; Beijing, Xian – Hong Kong (Shenzhen) — This voyage combines the experiences of Viking's 10-day China Discovery voyage with opportunity to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Warriors and other iconic landmarks. While sailing China's coastline, guests can experience a phenomenal diversity in languages, cultures and cuisines.

• China Discovery — 10 days; Shanghai – Hong Kong (Shenzhen) — This 10-day itinerary allows guests to experience the Buddhist shrines of Zhoushan and the cliffs of Dongtou, follow the steps of 19th-century European diplomats on Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, or try Cantonese dim sum in Shenzhen.

To learn more about the itineraries and why China is such a captivating destination, Viking has also published two new videos: Executive Vice President Karine Hagen invites travelers to learn more about these exclusive-to-Viking China voyages here, and Viking Vice President of Product Development Joost Ouendag provides an in-depth overview of the new voyages and the unique opportunity to be immersed in the history, culture and natural wonders of the Middle Kingdom here.

The Viking Yi Dun

Dedicated specifically to exploring destinations in China, with an onboard experience that complements guests' discoveries ashore, the Viking Yi Dun is a sister ship in Viking's award-winning ocean fleet. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that host 930 guests; the ships feature all veranda staterooms, Scandinavian design, light-filled public spaces and abundant al fresco dining options.

MSC Cruises to Bring MSC Seascape to Galveston
MSC Cruises, the world's third largest cruise line, is setting course for Texas. Today the cruise line opened sales for its new itineraries out of Galveston, marking a significant milestone in its ongoing U.S. expansion. The sailings are poised to redefine the cruising experiences for families in the region thanks to the modern amenities available on MSC Seascape, one of the newest and most environmentally friendly ships in the company's fleet. Guests eager to sail from Texas to Mexico and Central America can experience MSC Cruises' signature European flavor with 7-night sailings beginning in late 2025.

Rubén A. Rodríguez, President, MSC Cruises USA, said: "Expanding to Galveston with the magnificent MSC Seascape is a pivotal moment for us at MSC Cruises and for our guests. Expanding our U.S. footprint makes our unique cruise experience more accessible to travelers in the central and western parts of the country and it illustrates our commitment to providing families in the region with unparalleled vacation options. MSC Seascape's family-friendly amenities, award-winning entertainment and innovative offerings will help us deliver exceptional value and memorable journeys for more guests than ever before."

Starting November 9, 2025, MSC Seascape will set sail from the Port of Galveston with 7-night itineraries visiting must-see destinations including Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Isla de Roatan, Honduras. MSC Cruises offers a range of shore excursions to immerse guests in these culturally renowned, vibrant coastal destinations, from tours of the ancient Mayan Ruins and shipwreck snorkeling to glass bottom boat rides and museum tours.

Rodger Rees, Port Director & CEO, Galveston Wharves, said: "Welcoming MSC Cruises and the MSC Seascape to Galveston offers cruise passengers a new cruise experience and opportunities to explore Galveston Island, a tropical Texas island rich with history, Victorian architecture, sparkling beaches and great restaurants. MSC passengers can come for a fabulous cruise and stay to discover our island treasures."

The innovative MSC Seascape elevates the industry-standard family experience on board with an astonishing 7,500 square feet of dedicated kids' space and cutting-edge amusement options. Guests can indulge in the state-of-the-art ROBOTRON robotic arm ride, two LEGO rooms for ages 3-6 and 7-11, three different concept spaces for teens, a VR 360° Flight Simulator, VR motorcycles and the immersive MSC Formula Racer, perfect for racing enthusiasts ready to get their adrenaline fix.

MSC Seascape Itinerary Highlights include:

• Costa Maya, Mexico – Home to the ancient Chacchoben and Kohunlich Mayan Ruins, guests can uncover Costa Maya's 4,000-year history, the story of the Mayan population, and thriving wildlife with guided tours from the ocean to the jungle. On the Jaguar Truck, guests can immerse themselves in nature as they journey through rainforests to explore the waters of a Cenote—one of Mexico's many ancient naturally occurring swimming holes.

• Isla de Roatan – Off the coast of Honduras is Isla de Roatan, a largely untouched island known for its incredible barrier reef. Guests will find white sand beaches, shipwreck snorkeling tours and glass bottom boat excursions. For the more adventurous traveler, guides offer an extensive hiking and archaeology tour through the ancient world of Mayan culture and the capital city of Coxen Hole.

• Cozumel, Mexico – Globally recognized for its incredible diving excursions, Cozumel offers snorkeling trips through an ancient Mayan cave, clear bottomed Kayaking and snorkeling and up-close-and-personal experiences with dolphins, manatees and other wildlife. Guests interested in a robust learning experience can take part in tours of the city or nearby Mayan Ruins.

Villa Vie Residences Updates Progress
Villa Vie Residences, the innovative new world cruise brand and residential community at sea, has announced an all-time sales record with the most bookings taken in one single day. Villa Vie Residences recorded the sale of 6% of its total available capacity on their best booking day to date. The exciting announcement comes just one month following the opening of sales to the public for Villa Vie Residences' pioneering continual World Cruise.

"Villa Vie Residences CEO Mikael Petterson states, "Villa Vie Residences' unprecedented sales volume in such a short period of time showcases the exceptional demand for residential cruising. We are ahead of schedule to take possession of the ship by the end of February having already paid 50% of the vessel cost with secured financing for the remaining balance."

Across the board, all voyage segments and all villa categories have seen extraordinarily strong demand with close to half of the ship sold to capacity for its inaugural departure on May 15, 2024. More than 70% of the Inside Villas have been sold as well as more than 50% of the Balcony Villas.

Villa Vie Residences' continual World Cruise will allow residents to travel to all seven continents as part of an itinerary that is unprecedented in its duration and variety visiting 425 destinations across 147 countries. Through its ownership program, travelers can embrace life as a global resident by owning a villa at sea for as little as $99,999.

Residents that prefer more flexibility than the full ownership program offers can curate their own journey from the collection of 16 segments ranging from 35- to 120- days with longer stays in port. "Today's traveler is eager to explore the world and Villa Vie Residences will ensure their travel dreams are fulfilled with this unique and continual circumnavigation of the world," added Petterson.

Villa Vie Residences' booking record comes only weeks after the cruise brand announced it had purchased the former Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship, The Braemar to be named Villa Vie Odyssey. The 924-passenger, 24,344 GRT vessel will enter service this year following an all-encompassing multi-million-dollar, two month-long refurbishment beginning in March.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.96 - 2.25%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.21 - 2.34%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.75 - 5.69%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the last pair of ocean liners to be built with an overhanging, counter stern (...such as on the Titanic and many other early twentieth century ocean liners).

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth was docked at Port Everglades, Florida and open to the public until it was declared a fire hazard. courtesy of Rich C. The Villages, Florida.


Cruise News - January 8, 2024

Oceania Cruises Announces Inspiring New Voyages on Riviera, Exploring Lesser-Known Ports
Oceania Cruises has announced that its 1,250-guest ship Riviera will explore the continents of Africa and Asia at the end of 2024, and into 2025 with three brand new itineraries.

The jewel of these itineraries is a once-in-a-lifetime 59-day Grand Voyage which offers guests the opportunity to explore the truly off-the-beaten path ports across Africa and Asia. Riviera will sail from Barcelona, call at the Canary Islands, before heading down the western coast of Africa with days at sea punctuating enticing ports in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and an overnight stay in Walvis Bay, Namibia. At the journey's most southern point, guests will enjoy an overnight stay in Cape Town before heading up the eastern coast via Madagascar, for an overnight stay in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; and then across to the Seychelles, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, before the journey culminates in an overnight stay in Singapore.

"These longer, destination-immersive voyages offer curious, well-traveled guests the chance to explore some of the most off-the-beaten-path ports in the world, all from the elegant surroundings of Riviera. Sailing from Europe to Asia, via both coasts of Africa, is a true bucket list journey, combining iconic cities and unknown gems, with our incredible onboard service and the best value in luxury cruising, these voyages are hard to resist," stated Frank A Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises.

Offering the largest standard staterooms at sea and home-away-from-home residential-style luxury, Riviera will explore bucket list African ports such as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Walvis Bay and Dar Es Salaam as well as stopping in the iconic Asian ports of Phuket, Penang, Colombo and Malé. Her new itineraries range from 27 to 59 days, traveling from Europe across Africa and Asia.

Riviera will also take guests to smaller, more niche ports across the globe, stopping at Antsiranana in Madagascar, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Sao Tome and Lome in Togo. Travelers will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the natural wonders and local cultures of these destinations with more than 400 shore excursions to choose from.

Riviera's New Itineraries:

A Tale of Five Seas, 59-day voyage departing on November 14, 2024 from Barcelona, and arriving in Singapore on January 12, 2025. Ports of call: Seville, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arrecife, Mindelo, Dakar, Banjul, Abidjan, Sekondi-Takoradi, Lome, Sao Tome, overnight stay in Walvis Bay, Luderitz, overnight stay in Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Maputo, Nosy Be, Mayotte, overnight stay in Dar Es Salaam, Antsiranana, Mahe, overnight stay in Male, Colombo, Hambantota, Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, finishing with an overnight stay in Singapore.

West African Rhythms, 27-day voyage departing on November 14, 2024, from Barcelona, and arriving in Cape Town on December 11, 2024. Ports of call: Seville, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arrecife, Mindelo, Dakar, Banjul, Abidjan, Sekondi-Takoradi, Lome, Sao Tome, overnight stay in Walvis Bay, Luderitz, finishing with an overnight stay in Cape Town.

Colonial Crowns, 32-day voyage departing on December 11, 2024 from Cape Town, and arriving in Singapore on January 12, 2025. Ports of call: Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Maputo, Nosy Be, Mayotte, overnight stay in Dar Es Salaam, Antsiranana, Mahe, overnight stay in Male, Colombo, Hambantota, Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, finishing with an overnight stay in Singapore.

All guests sailing on these itineraries benefit from Oceania Cruises' simply MORE™ offering, which includes a generous shore excursion credit of up to $2,600 per stateroom, in addition to free roundtrip airfare; free airport transfers; free Champagne, wine and more during lunch and dinner; free soft drinks and specialty teas and coffees; free gourmet specialty dining and free unlimited WiFi – for the best value in luxury cruising.

Beautifully re-inspired, Riviera offers unparalleled experiences to curious world travelers. Her incredibly spacious standard staterooms measure an astounding 291 square feet and all categories of staterooms have been stunningly reimagined with luxurious furnishings, thoughtful design touches and larger showers. With 800 officers and crew for 1,250 guests, service levels are second to none and guests receive a friendly welcome at every turn.

Boasting one chef for every 10 guests, travelers can savor sumptuous dishes at seven open-seating gourmet restaurants as they marvel at the turquoise sea in Thailand, or relax after a day's safari in Tanzania.

Whether you choose from an array of international and Continental dishes at The Grand Dining Room, the ultimate steakhouse experience at Polo Grill, bold Pan-Asian fare at Red Ginger, masterfully prepared Italian dishes at Toscana, delectable French cuisine at Jacques, hallmark Chef's Market Dinners and ever-changing menus at Terrace Café or handmade pizzas at the new alfresco pizzeria at Waves Grill, every meal aboard Riviera becomes a memorable culinary experience.

Riviera had a sweeping rejuvenation with all suites and staterooms being restyled with new custom furnishings, wood finishes and designer accents radiating Oceania Cruises' signature essence of elegance. Some notable highlights of the reimagined vessel include:

• Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms and Veranda Staterooms are the largest standard staterooms afloat at 291 square feet

• All Penthouse Suites and staterooms are beautifully redesigned, bringing a chic, warm and comforting sense of home with sleek restyled bathrooms in Italian marble

• Riviera's public spaces have all been elevated with plush new carpets and leather-covered armchairs

• All the convivial lounges and bars, and decadent dining venues have been elegantly restyled, elevating social and epicurean experiences while maintaining the home-away-from-home ambiance

• The Grand Dining Room reflects a renewed sense of grandeur that radiates from the glistening chandelier, plush carpets and butter-soft leather armchairs

• Dining alfresco in the evening has been completely revamped with a delightful new pizzeria and trattoria, featuring an array of handmade pizzas, succulently grilled Italian specialties, spicy chicken wings, tantalizing salads and indulgent desserts every evening

More Than 50 Ports Across 11 Countries Highlight Holland America Line's 2025-2026 Asia Cruise Season
Holland America Line's Westerdam is heading to Asia, where it will explore 11 countries from September 2025 through April 2026. The itineraries have a strong focus on Japan with 24 different ports around the country, as well as visits to Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Ten unique itineraries and two Pacific Ocean crossings showcase cultural experiences and fresh, regional cuisine

Cruises in the Far East depart from Hong Kong, China; Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan; and Singapore to some of Asia's most iconic cities — with up to 12 ports in a single cruise. Late departures and overnight stays allow extra time for guests to sample the nightlife, local cuisine and rich cultures of the region.

"For travelers looking to discover Asia, our 2025-2026 season provides an opportunity to explore the region in-depth via cruise," said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. "We have diversified the number of ports to more than 50 across several itineraries. We want to ensure our guests have an authentic glimpse into the diverse cultures of each country, creating immersive moments and deeper connections to those destinations."

Highlights of the 2025-2026 Asia Season

• Westerdam will explore Asia from September 2025 through April 2026.

• The cruises visit a combined 51 ports in the region, including 24 in Japan.

• More than 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites are sprinkled throughout the itineraries, giving guests on every cruise the chance to visit these spectacular sites that represent the best of human heritage, as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

• Holland America Line's Global Fresh Fish Program brings native fresh fish and other local ingredients on board, from Japanese rockfish to Indonesian rambutan.

• Overnight calls include Shanghai, China; Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand; Manilla, Philippines; Hiroshima, Japan; and Incheon (Seoul), South Korea.

• Late-night departures on select itineraries include Hakodate, Osaka and Kobe, Japan; Halong Bay and Da Nang, Vietnam; Lembar, Indonesia; and Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

• "North Pacific Crossing" between Seattle and Yokohama:
- 13 days, departing Sept. 28, 2025, Seattle to Yokohama, including calls at Juneau, Alaska, and Kushiro and Aomori, Japan.
- 15 days, departing April 26, 2026, Yokohama to Seattle, including Kushiro, Japan; Alaska's Kodiak, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

• "Circle Japan" — 14 or 15 days, roundtrip from Yokohama. Three itineraries:
- Omaezaki, Kobe, Kochi, Fukuoka, Kanazawa, Sakata, Otaru, Aomori, Hakodate and Miyako, all in Japan, as well as Sokcho, South Korea.
- Himeji, Kochi, Hiroshima, Sakaiminato, Tsuruga, Toyama, Sakata, Otaru and Hakodate, all in Japan, as well as Busan (Pusan), South Korea. Omaezaki, Kobe, Kochi, Fukuoka, Kanazawa, Sakata, Otaru, Aomori and Hakodate, all in Japan; as well as Sokcho, South Korea.
- "Japan and South Korea Discovery" — 14 days, roundtrip from Yokohama. Kochi, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Kobe, Japan; (Seoul, overnight), Busan and Jeju City (Cheju), South Korea.

• "Japan, South Korea and China" — 13 or 14 days, from Yokohama to Hong Kong: Shimizu, Osaka, Takamatsu (maiden port), Hiroshima (overnight Feb. 15 departure only), Fukuoka and Nagasaki, Japan; Busan (Pusan), South Korea; Shanghai (overnight), China.

• "The Philippines, Taiwan and Japan" — 14 days, Hong Kong to Yokohama. Calls at Manila, Boracay and Puerto Princesa, Philippines; Keelung (Taipei) and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Osaka, Naha and Ishigaki, Japan.

• "Far East Discovery" — 13 or 14 days, between Hong Kong and Singapore. Calls at Halong Bay, Da Nang (Hue), Nha Trang and Phu My, Vietnam; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Laem Chabang (Bangkok, overnight) and Nathon (Koh Samui), Thailand.

• "Indonesian Holiday" — 15 days, roundtrip from Singapore. Sails Dec. 20, 2025, to Jan. 4 2026. All calls are in Indonesia and include Probolinggo, Surabaya, Semarang and Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Java; Celukan Bawang and Benoa (Denpasar), Bali; Komodo Island; Lembar, Lombok; and Tanjung Priok, Jakarta. Scenic cruising by the active Krakatau Volcano.

• "Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines" — 14 days, from Singapore to Hong Kong. Laem Chabang (Bangkok, overnight), Thailand; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Puerto Princesa and Manilla (overnight), the Philippines; and Phu My, Vietnam.

Princess Cruises Names Jim Berra Chief Marketing Officer
Princess Cruises today announced that Jim Berra – an accomplished cruise industry and hospitality veteran with nearly three decades of brand, marketing, and commerce experience – has joined the organization as chief marketing officer, reporting directly to Princess Cruises president John Padgett.

As CMO, Jim will lead all global marketing facets including integrated marketing strategy formulation, creative development and brand promotion across all channels and geographies to further optimize Princess' global marketplace position.

Berra joins a leadership team with extensive commercial and communications experience including highly respected industry veterans Terry Thornton, Chief Commercial Officer; Vicki Johnson, Sr. Vice President of Communications, and Carmen Roig, Vice President of Sales.

"Jim's demonstrated track record of success with outstanding hospitality brands make him a perfect addition to the Princess team," Padgett said. "The Princess brand is truly special, and Jim will ensure 'The Love Boat' extends its position as an iconic brand and a global destination leader."

Berra comes to Princess from Invited (formerly ClubCorp), the largest owner of private membership clubs in the country, where he served as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer. Prior to Invited, Berra spent six years at Royal Caribbean International as senior vice president and chief marketing officer, overseeing the company's advertising programs, marketing communications, social media, e-commerce, and customer marketing.

"Princess has a rich history of creating unforgettable moments at sea, and I am excited to steer the marketing efforts for the iconic Love Boat brand to even greater heights," Berra said. "Together, we will continue to inspire travelers to embark on journeys filled with love, adventure, and cherished memories."

Before Royal Caribbean, Berra spent seven years at Carnival Cruise Line as its Chief Marketing Officer. Previously he also held multiple positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts including SVP of Customer Marketing and Strategic Alliances.

A resident of Miami Beach, Fla., Berra holds bachelor's degrees in economics and philosophy from Northwestern University.

Cunard Set to Bring Back Le Gavroche at Sea
Cunard will bring back an exclusive series of Le Gavroche residencies at sea this year as two Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux brings his iconic London restaurant to guests on Queen Anne and Queen Mary 2.

The esteemed chef will close the popular Mayfair venue this month and oversee four Le Gavroche residencies across four exciting Fjords voyages in 2024.

The exclusive series will be delivered in partnership with the Norwegian Seafood Council and begins with Le Gavroche at The Verandah aboard Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2, for her sailing to Hardangerfjord on June 2.

The five-night residency – which will be an additional charge for guests – will cater to 60 diners each evening, showcasing a beautiful variety of Roux's signature seafood specialties and elevated culinary classics.

Guests will be treated to a five-course tasting menu infused with all the flavors of the sea, elegantly finessed using the very best produce.

Roux will then host a second residency aboard Queen Mary 2 for her Hamburg roundtrip Fjords voyage on August 6.

That same month, Roux will deliver another intimate, five-night takeover with Le Gavroche at Sir Samuel's on-board Cunard's newest ship Queen Anne as she departs for Stavanger in Norway on August 11. This exclusive dining experience will cater for 50 guests each night.

The Le Gavroche custodian will complete his quartet of takeovers with a further Norwegian residency on Queen Anne on September 1 as she sails to Haugesund.

During these voyages, Roux will also appear as an Insights Speaker in the Royal Court Theatre, regaling guests with stories from his illustrious 40-plus-year career in the hospitality industry.

The news follows August's announcement that Roux will be creating an exclusive gala menu for Queen Anne's Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants, as well as a new Golden Lion menu full of refined pub favorites for Cunard's newest ship.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are incredibly honored to exclusively host Le Gavroche at sea and continue our exciting partnership with Michel Roux. Just as Roux sets the bar for fine dining, we at Cunard set the bar for luxury ocean travel, and his innovative approach to celebrating traditional Norwegian cuisine perfectly aligns with our dedication to offering guests unforgettable and culturally rich experiences."

Michel Roux added: "It is an absolute privilege to bring Le Gavroche to Cunard's Queens, reuniting with their hugely talented and passionate culinary development chefs as we strive to create menus inspired by the treasures of Norwegian cuisine. The culinary heritage of Norway is a tapestry of flavors, and together with Cunard, I look forward to weaving these elements into an extraordinary dining experience at Sir Samuel's and The Verandah. My ongoing partnership with the Norwegian Seafood Council allows us to ensure every dish tells a story of the nation's natural beauty."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 17.35 - 6.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.12 - 4.15%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.76 - 11.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Between the time she left Cunard's service in 1968 and her arrival in Hong Kong in 1971, the Queen Elizabeth spent time in what is now one of the most popular ports in North America. Where was she laid up during this time?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - The outbreak of World War I saw her on the on the Liverpool-New York route from 1915 until 17 July 1918, when she was torpedoed and sunk by U55, 170 miles west of Bishop Rock. Five crew were killed, but the remaining 215 on board, including 57 passengers, were rescued by HMS Snowdrop. courtesy of Jay Brice.


Cruise News - January 1, 2024

Carnival Announces a Roundup of New Enhancements
Carnival Cruise Line is deploying a series of new enhancements to elevate the guest experience in time for a fun-filled new year. From a reimagined culinary journey with Chef’s Table and Carnival Culinary Center curated by Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse, to new online enhancements aimed to make debarkation more convenient, Carnival continues to elevate its offerings for guests.

Dedicated Cooking Class Offering Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse’s Favorites

Debuting on Carnival Jubilee as part of the Carnival Kitchen offerings, the Carnival Culinary Center features a dedicated cooking class curated by Chief Culinary Officer Emeril Lagasse. As part of the program, guests will learn to curate a three-course meal with hand-selected recipes by Emeril, including his world-renowned New-New Orleans Pasta, Shrimp & Okra Gumbo with Filé and Strawberries Romanoff. Carnival Kitchen is also featured on Carnival Panorama, Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration.

Chef’s Table Revamps with New Menu and Wine Selections

Carnival has launched a new option for its popular Chef’s Table, an immersive VIP culinary experience that includes a sumptuous multi-course dinner hosted by the Executive Chef onboard. The premium Chef’s Table 2.0 will offer new menu items for guests to enjoy. The experience starts with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for a select group of 14, followed by a tour to see the galley in operation and concludes with a remarkable dinner of appetizers, entrees and desserts.

The Chef’s Table 2.0 menu promises an exquisite array of new flavors with unique selections of food and wine selections on each Carnival ship. From tantalizing starters and main course offerings to world-class wine selections and decadent desserts, guests can fully immerse themselves in a unique and savory experience. Offerings are available fleetwide.

“Behind The Fun” Ship Tours Are Now Available Online

A guest favorite among Carnival tours, ‘Behind The Fun’ will now be available for bookings pre-cruise on Carnival.com starting Jan. 1. Until now, the popular tour was only available for booking once on board.

The new feature will be rolled out fleetwide. To book, guests will select the tour as a shore excursion under their ship’s homeport. The tour will take place on a Fun Day at Sea during the cruise. An accessible, abbreviated tour is also now available for guests with disabilities.

Debark Seamlessly with New HUB App Feature

To simplify debarkation, Carnival added a new feature on the HUB App. Instead of picking up zone tags for their luggage, guests can indicate a debarkation time via the app and list the number of bags to be placed outside their stateroom so the tags can be delivered directly to them. In addition, guests that would like to carry their own luggage off the ship are also welcome to use the new feature to choose the time they wish to debark by selecting a group suitable for them.

VIFP members and suite guests will still receive special tags with priority debarkation as normal, and guests who prefer not to use the app can still follow the traditional debarkation process and retrieve their tags.

The new feature is available on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Elation, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Dream and Mardi Gras, while the rest of the fleet is targeting a rollout by February.

MSC Rolls Out New Global Brand Campaign “for a Greater Beauty”
MSC Cruise sannounced today tht it is launching a brand new global integrated marketing campaign - “For a greater beauty”.

The campaign encourages audiences to discover the beauty of cruising in a more conscious way with a profound respect for the ocean and the planet. Beauty, represented in the film by an alluring voice, invites the audience to immerse themselves in the world’s destinations, into nature and into wonderful experiences on and off board.

The campaign will be activated in more than 30 countries worldwide and will be seen through a mix of marketing channels including TV, out of home, print media, digital and social media.

The TV spot was filmed on board MSC World Europa, one of 22 modern ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet and the fleet’s first ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), featuring the latest environmental technology. MSC World Europa offers an enriching vacation experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where guests can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs and the latest user-friendly technology.

MSC Cruises is firmly committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions for its marine operations by 2050. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry-wide.

Throughout 2024, those looking to escape the everyday to discover the beauty of cruising can choose from one of MSC Cruises more than 1,000 different departure ports calling at more than 240 destinations in over 85 countries.

Created in partnership with Dentsu Creative Italy, the new campaign has been filmed by the Australian director Kiku Ohe. Known for his ability to craft compelling visual narratives, elicit authentic character-driven performances, his highly awarded film craft displays a rare depth and artistry. The production is signed by Birth.

Princess Cruises Salutes 65th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood
Princess Cruises proudly celebrates Alaska today on the momentous occasion of its 65th anniversary of statehood. As the leader in Alaska vacations, Princess Cruises has been a part of Alaska's incredible journey, showcasing its natural beauty and cultural richness to millions of travelers from around the globe.

"Alaska's statehood marked a historic moment in American history, opening doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities, and we salute this very important anniversary," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer for Princess. "Princess Cruises has been a proud partner in Alaska's growth and prosperity, providing unforgettable experiences, contributing to its economy and fostering a deep appreciation for its unique heritage. We look back with pride on the incredible memories we've shared with millions of guests who have explored its pristine wilderness, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant communities with us."

55th Anniversary Season: Bigger and Better than Ever!

Like the 49th state, Princess will celebrate its own milestone anniversary in 2024, marking the 55th year of sailing guests to Alaska. The 2024 season runs May-September, and this year, Princess Cruises will again offer more choices than any other cruise line with seven beautiful cruise ships and five scenic Wilderness Lodges covering every part of Alaska. There are appealing options for any vacation budget and duration.

Having recently achieved its highest-ever guest satisfaction rates in 2023, the leading cruise line in Alaska consistently earns acclaim for its exceptional itineraries, unique shore excursions, the exclusive "North to Alaska" destination-specific enrichment program, delightful locally sourced seafood, and various other offerings. The cruise experience fully immerses guests in the state's rich culture, making it an ideal choice for families of all sizes.

The 2024 season promises to be the biggest and best ever with 158 departures on 14 unique itineraries with 17 destinations, including five glacier viewing experiences on seven stunning ships. The cruise line's 55th anniversary season also features 91 visits to Glacier Bay National Park, the most of any cruise line, including the "Voyage of the Glaciers" itineraries between Anchorage (Whittier) and Vancouver, B.C., and Inside Passage voyages roundtrip from Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.

New for 2024 are convenient, seven-day Inside Passage itineraries, many including Glacier Bay National Park, round-trip from Vancouver on Ruby Princess. The cruises deliver four awe-inspiring ports, including Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan along with visits to Endicott Arm and scenic cruising of Dawes Glacier.

Plus, there are more than 20 amazing cruisetours (cruise + land tour) that combine the unmatched Princess cruise experience with visits to the sights of Denali National Park, Kenai Peninsula, Copper River, Fairbanks and Anchorage and all from the comfort of the exclusive Princess lodges. Marking the 55th anniversary, two new cruisetours debut in 2024:

• National Parks Tour - A 15-night adventure to five of Alaska's most breathtaking parks including Glacier Bay, Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, Kenai Fjords National Parks, and Klondike Gold Rush National

• Historical Park in Skagway. This experience combines a seven-day cruise, scenic rail travel, and eight nights land, including stays at four Princess-owned wilderness lodges.

• Katmai National Park Tour - Nine-day cruisetour includes two nights in Anchorage, where guests have the chance to embark on an intimate bear-watching experience at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. This tour immerses travelers in the heart of Alaska's wilderness, allowing them to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, before or after sailing on a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise that includes a coveted visit to Glacier Bay National Park.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 18.54 - 2.06%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 129.49 + 1.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 20.04 - 4.34%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - The first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II was the Stockholm. courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe - Vancouver


Cruise News - December 25, 2023

Port Of Galveston Gives Texas-sized Welcome To Newest Fun Ship
Waving from the newest Fun Ship, Santa Claus swapped his sleigh for the day so he could help deliver Carnival Jubilee – the first brand new cruise ship to debut in Galveston, Tex. Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship, which dons a Texas Star on its bow, was welcomed home with a grand water salute as she docked at Galveston Wharves’ Terminal 25 for the first time.

The official debut of the 26th Fun Ship in the Carnival fleet signals the start of a significant expansion strategy in Galveston, which has grown among Carnival’s top homeports since the company became the first cruise line to operate there year-round more than two decades ago. In addition to bringing Carnival’s most innovative and dynamic entertainment and dining offerings, the ship will now significantly expand capacity from the port. Carnival Jubilee joins Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream at the port as part of a four-ship deployment plan that will be complete when Carnival Miracle repositions to Galveston next fall.

“The Texas star on her bow isn’t just decoration, it’s a symbol of our gratitude to our guests sailing from Texas who’ve made us the number one cruise line in Galveston, and our commitment to the future of cruising from this great city and state,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “When we cut the ribbon to welcome our first guests on this ship this weekend, we’ll be celebrating the beginning of a new era of operations here.”

Along with bringing the first roller coaster on board a cruise ship to Texas, Carnival Jubilee will also usher in the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Galveston. Enhancements were made at the port to accommodate the use of LNG and additionally, Carnival’s decision to deploy the new ship at its Texas homeport generated a $53 million investment in terminal improvements. In a Dec. 20 column, The Galveston County Daily News described Carnival Jubilee as a significant addition to the port and said, “The fact Carnival is willing to base its newest, biggest asset in Galveston is testament to the port’s standing in the industry and further evidence that past investment in cruise facilities was, and more investment would be, prudent.”

“The terminal, which has been home to Carnival ships since 2000, has been renovated top to bottom, inside and out. From a new roof, expanded dock and exterior colors to new interior finishes and furniture, the terminal has a fresh, new look,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO. “We are happy the time has come for this historic event and honored to host this beautiful, state-of-the-art ship.”

Now, Carnival Jubilee’s 1,750 team members are preparing to welcome more than 6,000 guests aboard for a maiden departure on Saturday. The ship is set to sail on a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise, visiting Mahogany Bay as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship will continue sailing week-long cruises year-round.

Carnival Corporation & Plc Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Full Year Revenues
Carnival Corporation & plc reported fourth quarter and full year 2023 earnings and provides an outlook for the full year and first quarter 2024.

"We ended the year on a high note with another record-breaking quarter that exceeded expectations and achieved positive full year adjusted net income. In fact, we consistently outperformed in all four quarters of the year, buoyed by a strengthening demand environment across all our brands," commented Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Executive Officer Josh Weinstein.

"Net yields for the fourth quarter continued on a positive trajectory, were significantly higher than a very strong 2019 and even higher than we had anticipated, enabling us to overcome four years of high cost inflation to deliver five percent higher per unit EBITDA than 2019 (holding fuel and currency constant)," Weinstein added. "Thanks to a strong second half of 2023, we are already tracking ahead of our plan to achieve SEA Change, our three-year financial targets calling for the highest adjusted ROIC and adjusted EBITDA per ALBD in nearly two decades. Based on our 2024 guidance, we expect to deliver another big step forward, positioning us more than halfway toward realizing all our 2026 SEA Change targets. With nearly two-thirds of 2024 on the books already, we are well positioned to obtain another year of record revenues and adjusted EBITDA," Weinstein noted.

Fourth Quarter 2023 Results

• U.S. GAAP net loss of $48 million, or $(0.04) diluted EPS, and adjusted net loss of $90 million, or $(0.07) adjusted EPS, was above the better end of the September guidance range (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Adjusted EBITDA of $946 million exceeded the September guidance range, driven by continued strength in demand, which is driving ticket prices higher (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Record fourth quarter revenues of $5.4 billion, with record net per diems (in constant currency) significantly exceeding 2019 levels, and above the September guidance range and record net yields (in constant currency).

• While gross margin yields were down 4.6 percent, net yields (in constant currency) exceeded strong 2019 levels by 7.8 percent.
- Occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2023 was over 101 percent, in line with the company's expectations and historical levels.
- Gross margin per diems were down 2.3 percent compared to 2019, while net per diems (in constant currency) exceeded 2019 levels by over 10 percent and were three percentage points better than the midpoint of the September guidance range.

• Cruise costs per ALBD increased 12 percent as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) increased 11 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 and were in line with September guidance (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Total customer deposits reached a fourth quarter record of $6.4 billion, surpassing the previous fourth quarter record of $5.1 billion (as of November 30, 2022), by 25 percent.

Bookings

"We entered the year with the best booked position we have ever seen, and now have nearly two-thirds of our occupancy already on the books for 2024, at considerably higher prices (in constant currency). We continue to experience strong bookings momentum across the board, with our European brands showing remarkable strength during the quarter with booking volumes running up well into the double digits at considerably higher prices (in constant currency)," Weinstein noted.

Weinstein continued, "Our yield management strategy to base load bookings is clearly working as we pull forward booking volumes on strong pricing. We continue to build on that momentum with our ongoing advertising investments and lead generation efforts, increasing support from our trade partners, and the exceptional guest experiences our team members provide onboard every day, helping to deliver millions of cruising advocates."

Booking volumes during the fourth quarter continued at significantly elevated levels, above both prior year and 2019 comparable periods, while recent booking volumes for the two weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday reached an all-time high for that period. Pricing on bookings during the fourth quarter was considerably higher than prior year pricing (in constant currency).

The cumulative advanced booked position is at considerably higher prices (in constant currency) than 2023 levels, with each quarter of 2024 booked above the high end of the historical range.

2024 Outlook

For the full year 2024, Carnival said that it expects:

• Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $5.6 billion, over 30 percent growth compared to 2023

• Net yields (in constant currency) up approximately 8.5 percent compared to 2023, with full year occupancy returning to historical levels and nicely higher net per diems (in constant currency) reflecting continued strength in pricing and onboard spending

• Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) up approximately 4.5 percent compared to 2023

For the first quarter of 2024, Carnival said that it expects:

• Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $0.8 billion, more than double the first quarter of 2023

• Net yields (in constant currency) up approximately 16.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2023 with occupancy returning to historical levels as the company closes the remaining occupancy gap in the first half of the year

• Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) up approximately 9.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2023 primarily due to higher occupancy levels, the timing of advertising investments and dry-dock related expenses compared to the prior year See "Guidance" and "Reconciliation of Forecasted Data" for additional information on the company's 2024 outlook.

Financing and Capital Activity

"During 2023, we made debt payments of $6 billion and ended the year with just over $30 billion of debt, which is $3 billion better than we forecasted just nine months ago during our March conference call and almost $5 billion off the first quarter peak," noted Carnival Corporation & plc Chief Financial Officer David Bernstein.

"And looking forward, we will continue to evaluate refinancing opportunities and opportunistically prepay additional debt. Furthermore, we expect durable revenue growth to drive increases in adjusted free cash flow in 2024 and beyond, which will be the primary driver for paying down our debt balances on our path back to investment grade," Bernstein added.

During 2023, the company generated cash from operations of $4.3 billion and adjusted free cash flow of $2.1 billion, making a significant contribution toward rebuilding the company's financial strength.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, Carnival said that it reduced its debt by another $725 million and for the full year made debt payments of $6 billion while ending the fourth quarter with $5.4 billion of liquidity, including cash and borrowings available under the revolving credit facility. In addition, Carnival said that it amended an agreement with one of its credit card processors and now expects an additional $800 million to be returned during the first quarter of 2024, representing substantially all of the credit card reserves balance as of November 30, 2023.

Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s First Restaurant at Sea Opens Aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam
Morimoto By Sea, Holland America Line’s newest specialty restaurant, officially opened its doors aboard Nieuw Amsterdam Dec. 21. Morimoto By Sea is the first stand-alone restaurant at sea by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who also serves as the cruise line’s Fresh Fish Ambassador, which is part of the brand’s global fresh fish program. Chef Morimoto was present for opening night, along with Holland America Line executives and Nieuw Amsterdam guests.

During the opening celebration, Chef Morimoto conducted a traditional sake barrel ceremony where he cracked open the barrel and shared the sake with opening-night attendees for a toast.

“We recently transformed space on Nieuw Amsterdam into a beautiful Morimoto By Sea restaurant, and we are thrilled to be here to officially open the dining experience for our guests,” said Michael Stendebach, vice president of food, beverage and rooms division at Holland America Line. “Adding Morimoto By Sea both as a stand-alone venue and a pop-up is another way we continue to elevate our culinary offerings, and we are honored to have Chef Morimoto on board to celebrate the launch.”

The Morimoto By Sea restaurant on Nieuw Amsterdam is part of Holland America Line’s global fresh fish program, which also includes a Morimoto By Sea pop-up experience once per cruise on the fleet’s other 10 ships in either Pinnacle Grill or Tamarind. The dishes served at Morimoto By Sea — and seafood offerings across Holland America Line’s fleet — are sourced from a global network of 60 ports to serve 80 types of fresh fish on board.

Morimoto By Sea on Nieuw Amsterdam can be found adjacent to the Tamarind restaurant on the Observation Deck. Guests dining at Morimoto By Sea, which is open nightly, enjoy a multi-course meal highlighting the cuisine of Chef Morimoto and the cruise line’s fresh fish program. The menu also includes a selection of beef, chicken, vegetarian and vegan options, and a sushi menu for additional purchase.

“I am always excited to open a new restaurant, and this grand opening is very special because it is my first restaurant on a cruise ship,” said Chef Morimoto. “I’ve cooked on land, on television, and now on the oceans. I look forward to Holland America Line guests experiencing my dishes.”

In addition to cuisine, the restaurant features Chef Morimoto’s exclusive alcoholic beverages, including Morimoto Dream Brut Rosé and Morimoto Junmai Daiginjo Sake, that complement the dishes on the menu.

For its opening night, Morimoto By Sea was fully booked, with guests indulging in a selection of dishes including Hamachi Tacos, Ishiyaki Buri Bop, Japanese Vegetable Curry, Slow Cooked Alaskan King Salmon and White Chocolate Lime Ganache.

Cunard Previews Queen Anne’s New Indian-Themed Restaurant
Cunard has given an exclusive preview of Queen Anne’s new Indian-themed restaurant, Aranya.

The immersive dining experience was held in The Verandah on board Queen Victoria in Southampton today (11 December), giving VIP guests a never-before-tasted sampling of the Aranya concept.

The three-course meal was delivered by Surjan Singh, fondly known across the culinary world as Chef Jolly, a highly acclaimed Indian chef who is working with the luxury cruise line to develop the Aranya menu.

His achievements span three decades and include senior positions at the Taj Palace in New Delhi, the Goa Marriott Resort, the JW Marriott Mumbai, the Renaissance Mumbai, and London Marriott West India Quay Hotel. He has also enjoyed highly popular stints on MasterChef India and MasterChef Junior, India.

Alongside Cunard’s Culinary Development team, led by Gareth Bowen, the acclaimed chef delivered a host of delectable dishes for the festive feast, starting with a selection of appetizers including smoked chilly pork belly with buttered pao and pickled red cabbage; roasted sweet potato Tikki with a cumin-beet puree; and a sweet pea, goat’s cheese and almond kofta.

A choice of mains comprised roasted wild turbot with tamarind chilli tomato; slow roasted beef short rib with caramelized red onion-cashew nut yogurt gravy; masala roasted cauliflower with wild mushrooms; and a pot sealed Biryani filled with Welsh lamb shoulder.

To finish, a trio of desserts were served – a jamun, passionfruit mascarpone with a hazelnut nougat; a Malai- Lychee kulfi; and a fresh cut fruit chaat masala.

Each dish showcased the expertise, attention to detail and uniqueness of the Aranya experience.

Aranya

As an all-new taste direction for Cunard, Aranya (meaning forest or wilderness in Sanskrit) has been designed to surprise and delight guests, taking diners on a journey through the rich spice flavors of India with menus curated by experts in their field.

It’s intended to transport guests on a multi-sensory tour of the Indian subcontinent, from the vibrancy of the flavors to the luxurious interiors, which include stunning floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure magnificent views while dining.

Wherever guests decide to take their taste buds is their choice, be it the sprawling bazaars of Delhi, the lush green pastures of Kerala, or perhaps the golden sands of Goa. Aranya’s strength is its playful interpretations of classic Indian cuisine, and every evening is a new adventure.

Aranya is one of four additional dining experiences that will be available on Queen Anne – alongside Aji Wa, Sir Samuels, and Tramonto – which will offer guests more choice than ever before. The evening-only dining venue will be available to guests as a supplement, complementing the inclusive fare options offered for lunch or dinner elsewhere on the ship.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: “We always strive to deliver unparalleled culinary experiences at sea and we were absolutely thrilled to share a sneak peak of what’s to come with Aranya, which will be one of the most exciting dining venues aboard our newest ship Queen Anne. Cunard is renowned for high-quality dining options, and we’re delighted to be introducing more venues that reflect the vibrancy and varied cultural tastes of our guests. Queen Anne will offer more choices of entertainment, dining, and bars than ever before and we’re so excited to be working with chefs at the very top of their game, such as Surjan Singh, to ensure that our new Queen surprises and delights guests not just in her maiden season but for many years to come.”

Surjan Singh (Chef Jolly), Aranya Development Chef, added: “It is an absolute pleasure to be working with Cunard on such an exciting project. Aranya is not just a restaurant, it is a multi-sensory culinary experience that is designed to immerse diners in the rich spice flavors of the Indian subcontinent. Every dish has been curated with authenticity and quality at its heart, resulting in a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation that I hope diners will remember long after their voyage.”

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 18.93 + 3.10%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 128.21 + 5.87%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 20.95 + 3.10%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - The largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built was Cunard's QE2. courtesy of Robert in Newport News, Virginia


Cruise News - December 18, 2023

Princess Cruises Appoints Captains for Star Princess
Princess Cruises announced the two captains who will serve as masters of the line's second, sensational Sphere Class cruise ship, Star Princess, during an official keel laying ceremony in Monfalcone, Italy.

Captain Gennaro Arma, who currently serves as the newbuild site lead for the construction of both Sun Princess and Star Princess, will be master of the 17th Princess ship when she debuts in summer 2025, bringing her into service from the shipyard. When Captain Arma is on leave, Commodore Nick Nash will take over the navigation and leadership of Star Princess.

"It is my privilege to introduce and congratulate the masters of the stunning new Star Princess," said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. "Captain Arma and Commodore Nash have remarkable histories with Princess, and will provide great experience and excellent leadership on our newest vessel."

Commodore Nick Nash, a 33-year veteran of Princess Cruises, was promoted to the rank of commodore of the line's global fleet in 2020. He currently serves as captain of Enchanted Princess, having navigated the ship out of the Fincantieri shipyard for the first time. Commodore Nash first joined the company in 1989 and was promoted to staff captain in 1997. In 2002, he became captain and has been at the helm of many Princess vessels. Commodore Nash also has served as President of the Nautical Institute and after two years now serves on the council. He was awarded the United Kingdom's Merchant Navy Medal for meritorious service in 2018. He is a Chartered Master Mariner, a Fellow of The Nautical Institute, The Royal Institute of Navigation, The Royal Geographical Society and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.

Captain Gennaro Arma has always been passionate about the sea. He began his career with Princess Cruises in 1998 as a Cadet and moved up the ranks achieving his first command as Captain of Sea Princess in 2015, where he navigated the ship on two world cruises. He took the helm of Diamond Princess in 2018 and in 2020 and was honored with the recognition of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the highest of the orders of the Italian Republic, and selected among the 20 most influential Italian characters of the year by Vanity Fair in December 2020. Arma has also received the title of Magister of Amalfi Civilization for the Byzantine New Year, the Emanuela Loi award for courage, and the Assarmatori prize from the Italian maritime association awarded by the Minister of Transportation. He most recently served as captain of Discovery Princess. He was born in Sorrento, Italy, where he lives with his wife Mariana and his son Diego.

Star Princess makes her debut in August 2025.

Carnival Vista Rescues Six People After Cargo Vessel Capsizes
Carnival Vista’s team saved six men stranded in the ocean near the Dominican Republic early this morning after a small cargo vessel capsized overnight. A successful search and rescue operation for six additional vessel crew was carried out thereafter by Coast Guard authorities.

Carnival Vista’s officers under the direction of Captain Paolo Severini immediately altered the ship’s course, in coordination with Carnival’s Fleet Operations Center in Miami, when an onboard monitoring system received an emergency alert. The ship’s officers then spotted six men on a life raft and stopped to rescue them and bring them on board.

The Carnival team informed Coast Guard officials about the additional missing crew members. The officials launched a search for the remaining crew members and advised Carnival Vista to return to its route. Coast Guard officials confirmed they later rescued the six additional crew members.

Carnival Vista will visit Amber Cove today as scheduled. The ship, which is homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla., is currently sailing a six-day itinerary that departed Sunday.

Lionel Messi Named Official Icon for Royal Caribbean's New Vacation
An iconic kickoff is set to mark the start of a new era of vacations when Royal Caribbean International's revolutionary Icon of the Seas debuts January 2024. The world's largest cruise line has revealed sports icon Lionel Messi is the official Icon of Icon of the Seas. As the Icon of the first-of-its-kind combination of every vacation, the most decorated fútbol player in history will welcome the new ship at an exclusive naming celebration in Miami.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, Messi has and continues to set a long list of records throughout his career that includes winning the prestigious Ballon d'Or award eight times and being named TIME's 2023 Athlete of the Year for ushering in a new era of fútbol in the U.S. when he joined Royal Caribbean partner and new Leagues Cup champion Inter Miami CF. In its own right, Icon has also marked record-breaking moments. The highly anticipated vacation's reveal in October 2022 spurred the single largest booking day and highest volume booking week in the cruise line's then 53-year history, confirming vacationers are looking for a getaway that combines the best of every type of vacation – from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure – now more than ever. With six record-setting waterslides, seven pools, the first neighborhood designed for young families, more than 40 ways to dine, drink and be entertained, and more, Icon is where every type of family and adventurer can make memories together and on their own without compromise.

"I'm thrilled and honored to join the Royal Caribbean family to celebrate the arrival of the game-changing Icon of the Seas," said Lionel Messi, Royal Caribbean International's Icon of Icon. "Icon is beyond anything else that's out there for family vacations, with incredible never-before-seen features, all designed for making memories together."

Messi's new role follows the recent announcement of Royal Caribbean and Inter Miami CF's unprecedented partnership in which the cruise line is the Club's Main Partner and Official Vacation Partner. United in the sense of leadership, passion and delivering unforgettable moments to fans and vacationers, Royal Caribbean and Inter Miami CF will also celebrate the arrival of Icon with the next phase of the partnership – details which will be revealed at a later date.

"Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of delivering memorable vacations, and it's set to live up to its name in more ways than one when it changes the vacation industry in January 2024," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "It's that ability to make such a widespread impact and change the status quo that the Icon of Icon must personify, and Lionel Messi has proven to be the perfect example of that for years in the world of sports and most recently in introducing a new era of excitement and passion for fútbol in Miami and the U.S."

As part of a longstanding maritime tradition, Messi will take part in the iconic naming celebration for Icon in January 2024 in Miami. The Icon of Icon will have the honor of bestowing safekeeping onto the new ship, its crew and the millions of families who will create memories of a lifetime on board in the years to come.

Whether "family vacation" means getting away as a family, couple or friends, everyone can make memories their way every day with Icon's all-encompassing lineup of firsts and next-level favorites across eight neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is a destination in itself filled with a variety of experiences, live entertainment, restaurants, bars and more.

Rounding out the world's best vacation are the sun-soaked destinations vacationers can visit year-round while on Icon. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami is all about island hopping, featuring idyllic locales across the Caribbean – like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas – and an unmatched day of thrill and chill at Royal Caribbean's award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island's first adults-only oasis, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach, pools, spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.

Holland America Line Completes Installation of SpaceX's Starlink on All Cruise Ships
Holland America Line has experienced a notable surge in guest satisfaction with internet service this year as the cruise line completes the installation of SpaceX's Starlink high-speed internet on each of the 11 ships in its fleet. The final ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, was outfitted with the technology in mid-December during drydock. Starlink is the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology providing high-speed internet around the world.

Holland America Line first installed Starlink internet on Koningsdam in April 2023. Connectivity has significantly improved across the fleet with each Starlink installation, which is particularly noticeable in historically spotty service areas where weather, topography or port interference can impact bandwidth and quality.

"Holland America Line's commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technologies underscores our dedication to delivering an exceptional experience to our guests and team members," said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. "The successful integration of Starlink represents a strategic move to embrace innovation and elevate connectivity and convenience while cruising."

Guests and team members across Holland America Line's fleet are noticing the improvement in connectivity. Since installing the advanced high-speed internet, Holland America Line has seen increased satisfaction scores along with stronger bandwidth in key regions.

"We've heard from guests the new Starlink high-speed internet is better than they expected while cruising," said Kathleen Erickson, vice president of technology for Holland America Line. "For guests who are working remotely from our ships, it has been a game-changer. And for team members who rely on internet to stay connected with family back home, this is an important improvement."

The upgrade to Starlink internet ensures a more reliable connection in all weather conditions and locations. The high-speed internet is especially crucial for professional communications, enabling remote work for guests on board in regions such as Alaska where traditional technology can face interference from weather and mountains. The ships have also seen improvement in connectivity in other challenging areas including ocean crossings and sailings in the Amazon, Antarctica and Chile. news_cu_queen_anne.jpg

Cunard Announces 50 Exclusive Queen Anne Shore Experiences in 2024
With less than six months until Queen Anne's maiden voyage, Cunard has announced a treasure trove of exclusive, new shore experiences for guests sailing on Queen Anne during her maiden season.

The luxury cruise line is offering 50 signature shore experiences, across 60 ports, providing travelers a variety of immersive encounters with local culture, history, and natural wonders all over Europe.

In total, the exciting new program comprises more than 700 shore experiences for the 115 calls that Queen Anne will make in 2024.

From an exclusive orchestral performance in a secret location in the heart of Barcelona to a behind-the-scenes tour of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, these carefully curated experiences will showcase some of the very best experiences that the world's most fascinating destinations have to offer.

Whether it's savoring local delicacies and wine tasting in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Enchanted Forest of Madeira or joining a Fjord Safari to a Goat Cheese Farm in Norway, Queen Anne's signature shore experiences are designed for culinary connoisseurs, nature lovers, adventurers, and everyone in between.

The elevated nature of Queen Anne's hand-picked signature shore experiences allows guests to skip the lines and beat the crowds at several of Europe's best-loved tourist attractions, whilst others are a little off the beaten track – such as an exclusive visit to a gold and silversmith studio in Bergen, which has been producing fine jewelry, interior design pieces, and fine silverware for more than 150 years.

Throughout her maiden season, Queen Anne will sail from Southampton on itineraries to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Canary Islands, and the Norwegian Fjords, visiting more than 60 unique destinations in 16 countries – taking in several of Europe's most enchanting ancient cities.

She will set sail on May 3, 2024, for her seven-night maiden voyage to La Coruna and Lisbon. She will then depart for a 14-night voyage in the Canary Islands before traveling around the British Isles, visiting Scotland and Ireland, as well as Cunard's founding home port and spiritual home, Liverpool.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are all incredibly excited to welcome Queen Anne to the Cunard fleet in May and it is only right that her maiden season is complemented with a truly captivating shore experience program. Our teams have worked meticulously to curate these 50 signature experiences to ensure that our guests encounter the essence of every port they explore. From ancient ruins and culinary escapades to helicopter rides and private snorkeling sessions, we're delighted to be able to offer such exciting new shore experiences to Queen Anne's guests."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 18.36 + 4.14%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.10 + 0.57%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 20.32 + 10.31%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - The first theater/Cinema at sea was aboard the French Lines Normandie of 1935. courtesy of Dave in Los Angeles


Cruise News - December 11, 2023

Regent Christens of Seven Seas Grandeur
Regent Seven Seas Cruises hosted a glistening gala celebration in Miami, Florida on December 10, 2023, to welcome its newest ship, Seven Seas Grandeur, A Heritage of Perfection. VIP guests, including travel partners, local community leaders, media and loyal past guests, were invited to the exclusive black-tie evening ceremony on board the highly anticipated new vessel. The celebratory event marked a major milestone of Regent’s three decades of expertise in luxury cruising as the cruise line officially welcomed the sixth ship of The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet.

As part of the celebrations, Regent unveiled Journey in Jewels, the first Fabergé Egg to permanently reside at sea. The Pièce de Résistance of a 1,600-piece art collection, the custom-designed masterpiece will now be on display in Seven Seas Grandeur’s stunning atrium, for all future luxury travelers to enjoy. The event also featured incredible entertainment from Emmy and Tony Award-Winning actress and singer and New Times best-selling author Kristin Chenoweth.

Sarah Fabergé, Founding Member of the Fabergé Heritage Council and great-granddaughter of Peter Carl Fabergé, performed her godmother duties at the elegant and exclusive gala event while wearing bespoke Fabergé jewelry, which will be auctioned for the Gemfields Foundation.

“Seven Seas Grandeur is the most anticipated new luxury ship to set sail this year, an achievement made possible through the combined craftmanship and exquisite eye for design excellence by Studio DADO and Fincantieri, who together with our team at Regent, have delivered a truly remarkable work of art,” said Harry Sommer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Each feature of this ship is more jaw-dropping than the last, from the world-class collection of art and tantalizing epicurean experiences, to the lavishly designed suites, restaurants, bars and lounges. Seven Seas Grandeur sets a new standard for service and comfort in the travel industry, and we are delighted to present this incredible new ship to discerning travelers as they explore the world with Regent.”

Inspired by the past and stunningly reimagined for the future, Seven Seas Grandeur exemplifies Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Heritage of Perfection with unrivaled space, unparalleled service, Epicurean Perfection, fascinating art and transformative experiences for guests as soon as they step on board. With a gross tonnage of 55,500, a crew of 548 staff and only 746 guests, the new ship will provide among the highest space- and staff-to-guest ratios in the industry.

Designed by the award-winning Studio DADO, Seven Seas Grandeur’s refined style, matchless elegance, and captivating beauty will exceed the expectations of luxury travelers. On board, guests will find captivatingly reimagined designs for signature restaurants such as Compass Rose, Chartreuse and Prime 7 among the exquisite dining choices. Seven Seas Grandeur features 15 stunning accommodation categories including the palatial, $11,000-a-night Regent Suite, contemporary yet timeless Distinctive Suites, and the beautifully appointed Spacious Suites.

“In a word, Seven Seas Grandeur is breathtaking, and we have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to christen our magnificent new ship,” said Andrea DeMarco, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Regent is the pinnacle of luxury experiences, but not simply because we have the world’s most luxurious fleet with unrivaled space at sea. It’s the people who bring the Regent vision to life, delivering unforgettable moments to our guests that last a lifetime. Our success over the last 30 years has only been possible because of the tireless work and unwavering commitment to delivering unrivaled experiences by our crew and team members in our global offices each and every day.”

Following the gala event, guests on board Seven Seas Grandeur embarked on a three-night Caribbean sailing with everything the ship that embodies 30 years of unrivaled experiences has to offer, from unrivaled space in luxuriously appointed suites, to impeccable service in lavish bars and lounges, to epicurean perfection in five exquisite gourmet restaurants, and not forgetting free unlimited and immersive shore excursions.

Villa Vie Residences Purchases Braemar from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Villa Vie Residences, an innovative new world cruise brand has purchased the former Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship, The Braemar to be named Villa Vie Odyssey. The 924-passenger, 24,344 GRT vessel will enter service in May 2024 following the completion of a multimillion-dollar transformation into a residential cruise ship complete with villas as residences.

Villa Vie Residences CEO Mikael Petterson states, "The ship's name symbolizes the company ethos of creating a community to share unforgettable moments of discovery on an extended journey, connecting people, places, and self." Villa Vie Odyssey will offer an intimate, new cruise lifestyle, able to reach parts of the world that larger ships cannot access, often docking in the heart of destinations. The ship's flatter hull enables her to navigate inland waterways and rivers too. In October 2019 (sailing as The Braemar), she became the longest ship ever to transit the Corinth Canal.

Villa Vie Odyssey will feature eight decks including cascading aft decks and a wrap-around promenade. Lengthened in 2009 and refurbished in 2019, she offers three restaurants, eight bars and four lounges, an extended pool with four Jacuzzis, a spa and fitness center, and a well-stocked library. Petterson adds, "Villa Vie Odyssey will be customized for her immersive, 3.5-year global circumnavigations, ensuring all the comforts and amenities of home."

Amongst the things unique to the company is its 'for the residents, by the residents' approach. As founders themselves, residents own the majority of Villa Vie's shares and actively participate in decision making - choosing themselves to name their ship, Odyssey. Laura, a Founders Club member and resident, shares, "Villa Vie isn't like a regular corporation–it's open and we feel a part of it."

A large, central business center will allow the digital nomad to flourish at sea with private offices and conference spaces. Starlink and Viasat 3 will provide fast and reliable internet access for all residents and guests. The ship will also feature an interactive and educational culinary center, as well as a pioneering golf around the world program complete with onboard golf simulator and tours and classes led by a Master PGA Professional.

With bold innovation, Villa Vie Residences is transforming the way people experience global travel with a visionary approach. Travelers may choose to own or rent their villa. The company offers the opportunity to explore the world while living aboard a cruise ship at a price comparable to traditional condominium ownership. For $89 per day, each resident will enjoy an all-inclusive lifestyle where rent, utilities, food, travel, and entertainment are all included.

Additionally, the brand is answering to customer demand for heightened flexibility with its unique, "pay-as-you-go" concept that allows travelers to select and combine various portions of its world cruise itinerary. Offering never-before-seen options to travel the world, Villa Vie Residences empowers adventurers with extraordinary opportunities to experience 425 ports across 147 countries for 1,301 days on a meticulously crafted continuous world cruise. Stays in port range from 2- to 7-days.

Princess Cruises' New Shining Star Princess Begins Countdown to Summer 2025 Debut
Princess Cruises and the line's partners at Fincantieri Shipyard today celebrated the beginning of construction of the second, sensational Sphere Class cruise ship – Star Princess – with the official keel laying ceremony in Monfalcone, Italy.

The keel, the bottommost part of the ship and main foundation, is the first block of the vessel to be constructed. Star Princess' 500-ton (1.1 million pound) keel was ceremoniously lowered by crane into position on the keel blocks in the dry dock, where the ship will remain until the float out. The computer-guided maneuver took only minutes, commencing the more than two million man-hours that will ultimately go into building the cruise ship.

Followed by a traditional blessing and ceremony, Princess and Fincantieri executives welded a Princess Medallion into the ship, believed to bring good luck to the vessel and all who sail on her.

"Our multi-decade shipbuilding collaboration continues to progress as we build spectacular ships that are enabled by the most advanced technology available while infusing magnificent Italian craftsmanship and respecting beautiful Princess design heritage," said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president.

Star Princess joins her sister ship, Sun Princess, as the largest ships ever built for Princess at 175,500 tons and carrying 4,300 guests. The new ship is built on a platform that is distinctly different and unique to Princess, designed to simultaneously embrace the Princess heritage while celebrating the romance of the sea by offering more dynamic, outward views.

While 20 percent larger than any of the line's existing ships, Star Princess' design retains the more intimate settings Princess is known for, with several new and incredibly ground-breaking spaces such as:

• The Dome, a transformational entertainment venue inspired by the terraces of Santorini.

• Next-level Piazza, featuring a glass sphere.

• "See it to believe it" Princess Arena, a configurable, technologically-advanced main theater that allows Princess to produce a variety of innovative entertainment concepts

• A majestic, three-story dining room positioned aft of the ship to deliver unforgettable wake views

Guests also will love the expanded accommodations options with luxurious staterooms and suites, elevating the art of relaxation and serenity. Star Princess guests can enjoy the exclusive Princess Experience, powered by the Medallion, that extends Princess' leadership position in delivering exceptional personalized experiences.

The new ship will be the second in the Princess fleet to be powered by LNG fuel technology and also is being built with the most advanced sustainable innovations available.

Star Princess makes her debut in August 2025

Cunard Announces Queen Elizabeth's 2025 Alaska Season
Adventure seekers can embark on an extraordinary holiday at sea in 2025 as Cunard announces the launch of its highly anticipated Alaska 2025 season.

Sailing roundtrip from Seattle, the luxury cruise line can reveal that Queen Elizabeth will offer 11 voyages in Alaska, ranging from 7 to 11 nights, from June 12 until September 25.

Whether whale watching from their stateroom or exploring The Great Land on shore, only on Queen Elizabeth can guests immerse themselves in Alaska and experience a world of unique opportunities and unexpected inspiration. With Alaska Native Voices onboard, including a Cultural Heritage Guide, plus a Naturalist on every sailing to provide distinctive deck commentary, there's no better way to experience the majestic scenery and local culture of Alaska than with Cunard.

With 24 late evening departures, guests will have an abundance of time to explore port cities such as Ketchikan, adorned with colorful totem poles, or Sitka, where 22 buildings have earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

The truly stunning Hubbard Glacier is a must-see for travelers exploring this beautiful region, and in Icy Strait Point, guests can join a whale-watching expedition or experience the thrill of riding the world's largest zipline.

Meanwhile, the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park, with its ice-capped mountains and towering glaciers, promises to be a highlight of any Alaska voyage. Other calls include Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Endicott Arm, and Hubbard Glacier.

On board Queen Elizabeth, guests will be fully immersed in the Alaska experience. Renowned explorers and accomplished adventurers will share their heroic feats, providing a unique educational component to the journey. This season we are honored to have onboard the legendary mountaineer Kenton Cool, the fearless polar skier Preet Chandi, and the acclaimed wildlife filmmaker Doug Allen. Their expertise promises to elevate each voyage and we can only imagine that 2025 will bring an even more extraordinary line-up of captivating programming.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard said: "We are incredibly excited to offer guests the new opportunity of sailing roundtrip into Alaska from Seattle. Due to strong guest demand, Cunard is offering a full summer season in Alaska, allowing travelers to delve into the region's wildlife and visit extraordinary cities, with extended time in port to fully appreciate this captivating destination."

To delve even further into the Alaskan culture, guests onboard will savor indigenous flavors foraged from land and sea, for a dining experience that complements the breath-taking surroundings, while indulging in cocktails inspired by Alaska's glacial scenery.

Love by Britto - Artistically Inspired Dining Experience Celebrating "Love" - Debuting on Sun Princess
In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, Princess Cruises today announced it is joining with Romero Britto, the world-renowned artist known for his bold, colorful, and joyful style, and a global advocate for happiness, to create Love by Britto, an artistic-inspired dining experience celebrating the essence of "Love" aboard Sun Princess.

Located on deck 17 at the aft of the spectacular new ship, Love by Britto is a groundbreaking addition to the Sun Princess experience portfolio. The new dining experience serves as an exquisite showcase of the artist's iconic and joyful designs against the backdrop of a boutique restaurant venue designed to immerse couples in a world of vivid colors, bold patterns, and heartfelt emotions, and create an ambiance of extraordinary service immersion.

Love and art converge with taste in an immersive culinary journey, showcasing a meticulously curated menu by culinary virtuoso Rudi Sodamin. With Sodamin's ingenious touch, Love by Britto transcends into a multisensory exploration, offering extraordinary dishes that embody profound passion, exquisite flavor, and boundless creativity.

"Love by Britto on the Sun Princess celebrates the universal language of love, expressed through Britto's vibrant art and design and promises to be uplifting and transformative for our guests," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. "With a perfect blend of art, beauty, and soul, Love by Britto is destined to leave a lasting impression."

Set to debut when the newest ship from The Love Boat launches in early 2024, all elements of the innovative new concept - the setting, the artwork, the menu – have been uniquely designed to create an unparalleled dining destination. Love by Britto is a testament to Princess Cruises' unwavering commitment to creating exceptional experiences that transcend the ordinary.

"With Love by Britto, we've created a one-of-a-kind experience that showcases the harmony between food, art, and the universal language of love, to create an experience that's meant to be savored," said Britto. "On the amazing Sun Princess, we're going to celebrate love for life every evening by pairing an incredibly unique vibe along with exceptional cuisine to create a setting for everyone to indulge their senses and emotions."

"Considered the most licensed artist in history, Britto is the founder of the Happy Art Movement and has created an iconic visual language of happiness, fun, love, and hope all its own inspiring millions worldwide," added Lucas Vidal, CEO of the BRITTO brand and organization.

Brazilian-born and Miami-made, Britto's work has been exhibited in the most prestigious galleries and museums in over 120 countries, including the Carrousel Du Louvre and he was the first living visual artist to present his work at the Soumaya Museum. He also has created innumerous public and private art installations, not to mention the largest in the history of London's Hyde Park. He did the opening of the Super Bowl XLI in collaboration with the Cirque Du Soleil, was the official artist for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, ambassador to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, honorary torch bearer and ambassador for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Love by Britto will feature a seven-course, prix fixe menu ($149 per person) beginning with a flute of Champagne upon arrival and features luxury ingredients including lobster, caviar and truffles, and dessert options that always include chocolate fondue.

Specifically featured across the seven-course meal are dishes highlighted by delectable and intoxicating aphrodisiacs, like Oysters with Champagne Pearls or Grilled Fig with Prosciutto and Roquefort as featured starters, followed by savory soups like Asparagus and Watermelon Cocktail with Vodka.

Also on the menu are savory salad options that feature quail eggs, pomegranate and avocado. Fish dishes like Lobster Thermidor with Clams and Wild Rice, and Honey-Basted Wild Salmon. Meats like Wagyu Chateaubriand Rossini and Roast Quail Farci with Truffles. Champagne flavored sorbet with Rose Petals to cleanse the palate. And heavenly dessert options in addition to chocolate fondue that range from Iced Soufflé Tahiti Vanilla and White Valrhona Chocolate with Hot Raspberries, to Hot Chocolate Soufflé with Hot Bing Cherries.

"Food is the international language of love," said Rudi Sodamin, head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises. "It could not be more perfect for Princess, home of The Love Boat!"

Love by Britto headlines a delectable assortment of expanded restaurant options aboard the highly anticipated Sun Princess, the next generation ship from Princess.

Other new selections among the 30 exciting bars and restaurant found onboard include a Princess first Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, an authentic Irish Pub, a new area to dedicated to casual eats, a completely revamped approach to World Fresh Marketplace, and two exciting pop-up concepts from celebrity chefs Dario Cecchini, and Sodamin, along with Princess favorites like Crown Grill, Sabatini's, Kai Sushi and Alfredo's Pizzeria.

The new ship places a premium on fresh cuisine and craft cocktails while offering spectacular views, from casual al fresco bistros and a fresh daily marketplace, to a lively pub, Asian-inspired sushi and teppanyaki, signature specialty restaurants and more.

"We've been inspired to design restaurants and lounges that reflect the stunning views, ocean vistas and sunshiny days that will be experienced across Sun Princess," added Padgett. "New and favorite venues will serve up vibrant flavors, pour perfectly satisfying cocktails and offer the most amazing settings for our guests to share stories around the table."

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess will also offer an array of exciting new entertainment and activity offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 17.63 + 7.83%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.41 + 5.43%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 18.42 + 5.26%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What Holland America ship was nicknamed "Funneldam"?

Answer - The Potsdam of 1900 got the nick name Funneldam due to her tall funnel. The ship was sold in 1915 to the Swedish America Line and renamed Stockholm. courtesy of Joseph Cant, Montreal, Canada


Cruise News - December 4, 2023

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Ascent Christened
Celebrity Cruises today introduced the world to its newest cruise ship - Celebrity Ascent - in a special naming ceremony.

Headlining the festivities were her inspiring co-Godmothers, Captain Sandy Yawn, star of Bravo TV's hit franchise, Below Deck, and her sister Michelle Dunham, Founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism, who officially named the ship in true maritime tradition with the breaking of a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull. They were joined by Greek brothers Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis and Captain Tasos Kafetzis, who will take the helm of the new ship, after being named Co-Captains of Celebrity Ascent, a first for the brand and the industry.

The ceremony was fitting for a ship that shatters preconceived notions of cruising with its forward-thinking design by the world's leading architects and interior designers; culinary excellence from Michelin starred chefs; expansive onboard entertainment and more.

Kicking off its inaugural Caribbean season, Ascent will set sail from Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 3 and travel on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing, visiting such popular destinations as St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic.

“With each new ship, our ambition is to debut the ultimate vacation experience and Celebrity Ascent achieves this by raising the bar for premium travel,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “Her elevated design and new onboard experiences set her apart from competitors and serve as a new benchmark for the travel industry.”

"Celebrity Ascent has been designed to feed our guests travel wanderlust and provide unique experiences they will covet and love,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, President at Celebrity Cruises. "Captain Sandy and her sister Michelle, co-Godmothering Celebrity Ascent, add another, and more personal dimension, to this already extraordinary ship. Their connection, combined with the brotherly bond of the ship's captains, exemplifies the sense of welcome and warm hospitality we strive for on every cruise."

Vacation Experience Highlights

Celebrity Ascent joins a series of ships without comparison and is a sister ship to Celebrity Beyond which debuted to great acclaim last year. Distinctive ship features and new experiences include:

• The Retreat, an exclusive resort-within-a-resort area for suite guests, highlighted by a two-story sundeck;

• Accommodations for modern tastes from modern two-story villas with private plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living;

• An expanded Rooftop Garden and stunning Resort Deck featuring unique cantilevered float pools;

• A multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar at the ship's aft;

• An expanded onboard entertainment program featuring a transformative nightlife experience on the Resort Deck, six new live productions, interactive gaming experiences, and live music from bow to stern;

• A redesigned casino floor and brand-new games;

• A new outdoor dining terrace at Blu, the brand's clean cuisine restaurant, available for al fresco daytime dining;

• An exclusive culinary experience in Le Voyage by Chef Daniel Boulud;

• And, the return of the Magic Carpet, an engineering feat soaring cantilevered above the sea, offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.

Setting Sail on Celebrity Ascent

Following Celebrity Ascent's maiden voyage, she will offer a variety of alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations through late April, when she then heads to the Mediterranean for sailings from Barcelona and Rome. Vacation sailing options include:

• The 7-Night Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman itinerary or the 7-Night San Juan, Tortola and St. Kitts itinerary from mid-December 2023 to early April 2024;

• The 7-Night Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman Holiday Cruise departing on December 24, 2023;

• The New Year’s cruise departing on December 31, 2023 for 7 nights and visiting San Juan, Tortola and St. Kitts;

• Kicking off the summer with the ultimate Mediterranean getaway on the 9-Night Italian Riviera and France itinerary;

• Or, crossing Rome, Naples, Mykonos, and Santorini off a bucket-list during the 12-Night Best of Greece and Italy

Carnival Jubilee Joins Carnival Fleet
Carnival Cruise Line today welcomed Carnival Jubilee, the third ship in its award-winning Excel-class, during a delivery event with ship builder Meyer Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany. As the 26th Fun Ship in the Carnival fleet, Carnival Jubilee begins its journey to Galveston, Tex. where it will bring added capacity and offer an exciting mix of new entertainment, dining and fun to one of the cruise line’s most popular homeports.

Carnival President Christine Duffy, alongside Ben Clement, Carnival’s SVP of New Builds, Refurbishments & Product Innovation, and the ship’s senior officers, joined Meyer Werft Managing Director Jan Meyer, to welcome Carnival Jubilee, the first Carnival ship to be built in Papenburg, Germany. Once in Texas, Carnival Jubilee and her team will welcome guests for the first time on Dec. 23. The ship will sail from Galveston year-round on week-long Western Caribbean voyages.

“Carnival Jubilee is the fifth additional ship we’ve welcomed into our fleet since 2021 and an integral part of our growth strategy. This ship will bring our most dynamic offering of fun to one of our most popular homeports and will be a great addition to our plans to remain the number one cruise line in Galveston,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “From the thrill of the roller coaster, BOLT, to a piece of paradise at the Serenity retreat, and so much more, we’re delivering a new level of fun for our guests sailing from Galveston that will complement our current and upcoming operations there.”

In addition to Carnival Jubilee, additions to the Carnival fleet since 2021 include Mardi Gras (2021), Carnival Luminosa (2022), Carnival Celebration (2022), and Carnival Venezia (2023). Carnival Firenze will join the fleet in April 2024.

Carnival Jubilee ushers in a significant expansion of capacity from Galveston, one of Carnival’s top homeports. Carnival was the first cruise line to sail year-round from Galveston in 2001, and the new ship with a Texas star on its bow is a Texas-sized symbol of the cruise line’s loyal and intense following by guests and travel advisors in the region. Carnival Jubilee will join Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream at the port as part of a four-ship deployment plan that will be complete when Carnival Miracle repositions to Galveston in October 2024.

Over the past month, Carnival Jubilee’s captain and senior officers have led the final trials to test the ship’s seaworthiness, completing many technical and nautical operations ahead of its transatlantic voyage and arrival to Galveston on Dec. 20. The 183,000 gross-ton ship can accommodate approximately 6,400 guests at full capacity, plus 1,750 crew. The ship is Carnival’s third to be powered by a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system, the first cruise ship to run on LNG from Galveston and will operate out of Terminal 25 at the Port of Galveston which underwent a recent $53 million investment to accommodate the ship and provide an enhanced guest experience.

Margaritaville at Sea Adds Second Ship With Expanded Caribbean Itineraries
Announced today, Margaritaville at Sea is offering an entirely new way to float into island time aboard their new flagship vessel, the Margaritaville at Sea Islander (fomer Costa Atlantica 1999) . Starting June 14, 2024, the fully-reimagined ship will sail four- and five-night cruises with sun-soaked stops in Key West, Cozumel, and Progreso, expanding the growing cruise line's itinerary availability to the Gulf of Mexico along with entertainment-packed sea days designed to fully immerse guests in the Margaritaville state of mind. Guests can reserve 2024 sailings online starting today and take advantage of exclusive preview incentives available for a limited time.

"Since we launched our first ship, Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, last year, we've been working to expand what our guests have been asking for: more amazing views, longer itineraries, and new ports of call," said Christopher Ivy, CEO of Margaritaville at Sea. "The addition of the Islander is an exciting moment for Margaritaville at Sea and marks the next chapter of growth for our business." Christopher continued, "We are also pleased to add Tampa as a new homeport – the perfect location to provide access to our adventurous new itineraries in and around the Gulf of Mexico."

"We're honored Margaritaville at Sea has chosen Port Tampa Bay to homeport this new addition to their fleet and we welcome them to the Gulf Coast," said Paul Anderson, President and CEO of Port Tampa Bay. "Our port's cruise terminals are easy to navigate and provide a variety of unique and interesting activities just steps from the Margaritaville at Sea Islander. The ship will be a great addition to our portfolio of cruise lines and a fantastic new option for cruisers from Florida's west coast."

The Margaritaville at Sea Islander spans 12 passenger decks accommodating 2,650 adventure-seeking passengers. Currently undergoing an extensive transformation, Margaritaville at Sea will fully redesign all 1,100 staterooms with custom styling reminiscent of the sand, sea and sky and all new furnishings including Margaritaville's signature bedding, pillows, and linens. With more than 700 Breezy Balcony staterooms, Grand Terrace Suites, luxurious Corner Suites, and ultra-exclusive Islander suites, couples, families, and friends alike can chase the sunset from their spacious balconies with endless gulf breezes.

The ship will feature a soaring 14-story atrium with a unique nautical Margaritaville flip flop and a lively atrium bar with three awe-inspiring multi-story floating margarita glass chandeliers. Exclusive innovations like the only three-story poolside LandShark Bar at Sea and a Margaritaville-inspired cornhole and mini-golf course alongside new family-friendly spaces like the Caribbean Amphibian Splash and Slide and signature favorites like JWB Prime Steakhouse and Rita's Taco House will make sailing aboard the Margaritaville at Sea Islander a journey of discovery. The more than 250,000 guests who have sailed aboard the Palm Beach-based Margaritaville at Sea Paradise will find several familiar favorites, including Paradise Pickleball at Sea, Frank and Lola's Pizzeria, Margaritaville Coffee Shop, and Cheeseburger in Paradise, surrounded by unforgettable new spaces and experiences to explore.

"We are excited to expand our cruise line with the launch of Margaritaville at Sea Islander as our flagship vessel," said John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings. "The addition of this ship will allow our guests to visit more island destinations and, while at sea, enjoy a broader and more elevated range of fun and signature Margaritaville onboard experiences."

Margaritaville at Sea Islander's first available sailing will be June 14, 2024 on a 4-night itinerary from Port Tampa Bay, Florida featuring a stop in Cozumel, Mexico and two sea days.

Norwegian Cruise Line's All-new Norwegian Viva Completes Her Exclusive Christening Voyage
Norwegian Cruise Line today welcomed Norwegian Viva, the second ship in the award-winning Prima class, back to Miami following a celebratory voyage.

The cruise line officially christened its newest ship in Miami on Nov. 28, 2023 with exclusive performances and festivities.

"To christen Norwegian Viva in Miami is incredibly special to many of us at NCL, not only because Miami is our hometown, but also because we can share this moment with our local family and friends," said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. "Launching a ship is no solo endeavor. I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards the entire NCL team, our partners and especially our amazing crew who have contributed to bringing Norwegian Viva to life and who care for and deliver exceptional vacation experiences for our guests."

Following Norwegian Viva's debut this past August and its inaugural summer season of European voyages, over 1,500 guests joined the christening ceremony held in the Company's LEED Gold Certified terminal at PortMiami. The Prima Class is committed to breaking new ground in ship design and amenities, reflecting Norwegian Cruise Line's unwavering dedication to putting the guest and onboard experience at the forefront.

"As a Company, it has been a milestone year with the debut of next-generation ships across all three of our best-in-class cruise brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises," said Harry Sommer, president & chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "The addition of Norwegian Viva further elevates our world-class fleet, providing our valued guests with another incredible way to vacation, discover new experiences and create unforgettable memories. Since she launched in August, Norwegian Viva's initial guest satisfaction scores have outshined any newbuild in the history of the NCL fleet, a testament to not only how stunning this ship is, but also the exceptional level of service and attention provided by our amazing crew on board."

Luis Fonsi, Norwegian Viva's godfather and GRAMMY Award-nominated singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, officially named and christened the vessel with the ceremonial champagne bottle break across the ship's hull which signifies good fortune and safe travels for all who sail aboard. As a native Puerto Rican, who is also based in Miami, Fonsi embodies the vibrant energy guests can enjoy aboard Norwegian Viva with warm-weather itineraries spanning from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean.

The celebration continued through the evening of Nov. 28 with an unparalleled and next-level entertainment lineup headlined by Fonsi, who performed his award-winning and global chart-topping hit "Despacito," among his other beloved Latin hits like "No Me Doy Por Vencido" and "Échame La Culpa." Other talented performers with authentic Miami and Latin roots took the stage, including "Saturday Night Live" cast member and Miami-native, Marcello Hernandez; the Queen of Latin Pop, Paulina Rubio; and recently announced GRAMMY Award-nominated artist, Pedro Capó.

"It was so exciting to celebrate the magnificent Norwegian Viva in true Latin-style in Miami and alongside fellow amazing Latin entertainers," said Luis Fonsi, award-winning global artist. "We gave her a proper despedida before she makes her debut in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico."

Norwegian Viva's christening festivities also included the unveiling and dedication of the Knut Kloster Hall, a newly added installation at the NCL Terminal that pays homage to the Company's founder, Knut Kloster, and colorfully shares details on NCL's 57-year history of innovation in the cruise industry.

At 965 feet long with the capacity for 3,099 guests, Norwegian Viva has unique, thrilling activities including the three-story Viva Speedway; elevated offerings such as Indulge Food Hall, an open-air food market featuring 11 unique eateries; and an awe-inspiring art collection with stand-out pieces including British digital artist Dominic Harris' 52-foot-wide interactive work of art named "Every Wing has a Silver Lining" installed at the Metropolitan Bar.

Following the three-day exclusive inaugural sailing, and select voyages from Miami, the ship will reposition to San Juan, Puerto Rico and be the newest ship to homeport in the destination when she arrives on Dec. 15, 2023. Through March 2024, Norwegian Viva will offer port-intensive seven-day Caribbean voyages, where guests will wake up each day in a new tropical island paradise with calls to Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands with no days at sea. In April 2024, Norwegian Viva will return to sail Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries that offer an unmatched opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of Europe. In addition, NCL's year-round 'Free at Sea' offer provides travelers with more value with vacation-enhancing benefits, including unlimited open bar, specialty dining, shore excursion credits, complimentary Wi-Fi, discounted rates for the third and fourth guests and free roundtrip airfare for the second guest.

Cunard to Celebrate Queen Anne with British Isles Festival Voyage
Cunard has announced the first event voyage on Queen Anne with a special British Isles Festival to coincide with her maiden voyage around the British Isles.

This unique sailing offers travelers the opportunity to take their place in history as the beginning of a new chapter for Cunard sets sail. Queen Anne will depart Southampton on May 24, 2024, for her maiden sailing around Great Britain and Ireland in a truly historic and one-of-a-kind British Isles circumnavigation.

The 14-night roundtrip voyage will showcase the very best of Britain's shores, taking in Cunard's spiritual home of Liverpool and bustling Belfast, majestic Highland cliffs, and the spectacular Scottish coast.

On board, guests can meet preeminent performers during an exclusive program of dazzling British and Irish entertainment or enjoy 'In conversation with' Insights talks with expert guest speakers, celebrating the rich heritage and natural wonders of the British Isles.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "Christmas has come early for travelers looking to celebrate the arrival of Queen Anne as we announce her British Isles Festival voyage, which will be a real celebration of our newest ship and showcase the very best of Great Britain and Ireland. Queen Anne's maiden voyage around these shores will be a truly historic sailing and I know many of our loyal Cunarders will be eagerly awaiting what will be an iconic journey."

Queen Anne

Whatever your dream destination, discover it with Queen Anne. As the newest addition to the Cunard fleet, her design concepts have been founded on heritage, craftsmanship, style, storytelling, and innovation, and the 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest ship, which spans 14 decks, will offer travelers several breath-taking experiences, and more choices of entertainment, dining, and bars than ever before.

She will also boast the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal, and spa facilities so far seen on a Cunard ship, with her reimagined Mareel Wellness & Beauty proposition heralding a new era of wellbeing at sea.

Throughout her maiden season, Queen Anne will sail from Southampton on itineraries to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Canary Islands, and the Norwegian Fjords, visiting more than 60 unique destinations in 16 countries – taking in several of Europe's most enchanting ancient cities.

She will sail on May 3, 2024, for her seven-night maiden voyage to La Coruna and Lisbon.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 16.35 + 11.83%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 114.21 + 7.31%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 17.50 + 21.07%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What Holland America ship was nicknamed "Funneldam"?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Just before the Imperator entered service in 1913, something was added to her design to ensure that she would be the longest liner in the world. What was added?

Answer - A large bronze eagle was added to make her longer than the Aquitania, the wings were later torn off the eagle during a storm while crossing the Atlantic courtesy of liberte50 @ t-online.de


Cruise News - November 27, 2023

Norwegian Cruise Line Christens All-new Norwegian Viva
Norwegian Cruise Line today celebrated the christening of Norwegian Viva, the Company’s highly anticipated newest vessel and the second ship in the award-winning Prima Class.

“To christen Norwegian Viva in Miami is incredibly special to many of us at NCL, not only because Miami is our hometown, but also because we can share this moment with our local family and friends,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Launching a ship is no solo endeavor. I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards the entire NCL team, our partners and especially our amazing crew who have contributed to bringing Norwegian Viva to life and who care for and deliver exceptional vacation experiences for our guests.”

Following Norwegian Viva’s debut this past August and its inaugural summer season of European voyages, today, over 1,500 guests joined the christening ceremony held in the Company’s LEED Gold Certified terminal at PortMiami. The Prima Class is committed to breaking new ground in ship design and amenities, reflecting Norwegian Cruise Line’s unwavering dedication to putting the guest and onboard experience at the forefront.

“As a Company, it has been a milestone year with the debut of next-generation ships across all three of our best-in-class cruise brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises,” said Harry Sommer, president & chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The addition of Norwegian Viva further elevates our world-class fleet, providing our valued guests with another incredible way to vacation, discover new experiences and create unforgettable memories. Since she launched in August, Norwegian Viva’s initial guest satisfaction scores have outshined any newbuild in the history of the NCL fleet, a testament to not only how stunning this ship is, but also the exceptional level of service and attention provided by our amazing crew on board.”

Icon of the Seas Officially Joins Royal Caribbean
It's official: After more than seven years of dreaming and 900 days of design and construction by thousands of experts, yesterday, Royal Caribbean International welcomes the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas to the family in a momentous celebration at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. The world's largest cruise line hosted a ceremony on the first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation, where representatives signed on the dotted line just two months before the new ship's January 2024 debut in Miami.

Marking the milestone at the celebration were more than 1,200 crew members and workers, who were joined by Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Meyer Turku CEO Tim Meyer.

"Today, we are celebrating more than a new ship; it's also the celebration of the culmination of more than 50 years of innovation and dreaming at Royal Caribbean to create the ultimate vacation experience," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering memorable vacations responsibly, and we thank Meyer Turku and an incredible village of skilled partners for joining us on this journey. The memories millions of families and vacationers will make on Icon will be our greatest accomplishment yet."

The transfer of ownership, commonly known as the delivery of a new ship, between Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku also commemorated the series of never-before-seen feats accomplished during more than two years of construction: from the installation of the AquaDome, the single largest glass and steel structure to be lifted onto a cruise ship, to engineering more water on board than ever before across seven pools, six record-breaking waterslides and more. Now is when Icon will sail from Turku to Cadiz, Spain, where the cruise line will start to put the finishing touches on the world's best vacation before it heads to Miami. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 29, adventurers can follow Icon's journey by visiting Royal Caribbean's website.

"Welcoming Icon of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family is a remarkable accomplishment years in the making for thousands of innovators, engineers, architects and designers," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer; now, it's in our hands, and in this final stretch, we'll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024."

Whether "family vacation" means getting away as a family, couple or friends, Icon's all-encompassing lineup features firsts and next-level favorites for everyone to make memories their way every day across eight neighborhoods. There are adrenaline-pumping thrills, unrivaled ways to chill, more than 40 ways to dine and drink, cutting-edge entertainment across the cruise line's four signature stages – air, ice, water and theater – and more. And with 28 different ways to stay, including the new three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse, even the rooms are thoughtfully designed for every type of vacationer.

The five brand-new neighborhoods and three reimagined favorites are destinations in themselves filled with a variety of experiences, live entertainment, restaurants and bars, including:

• Thrill Island – The new center of thrill features Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea, with six record-breaking slides; Crown's Edge, part skywalk, part ropes course and part thrill ride on which adventurers swing 154 feet above the ocean; the FlowRider simulator; the Lost Dunes minigolf course and more. In between adrenaline rushes, just steps away are new spots to grab laidback bites or sweet treats: Basecamp and Desserted for over-the-top milkshakes.

• Chill Island – Four of the seven pools on Icon are at this three-deck slice of paradise, each with a unique vibe and prime ocean views: the lively Swim & Tonic, the cruise line's first swimup bar at sea; Royal Bay, the largest pool at sea; Cloud 17, an adults-only retreat; and the serene, infinity-edge Cove Pool. With different tunes from live bands and DJs, and poolside spots for drinks and quick, casual food – like The Lime & Coconut and its new frozen cocktail bar, and El Loco Fresh & Cantina Fresca – vacationers can chill day and night.

• Surfside – Introducing the first neighborhood made for young families. Adults and kids can stay and play all day between ways to splash, like at the new Water's Edge pool for grownups nearby Baby Bay and the Splashaway Bay aquapark for kids, and new, dedicated dining options such as the Surfside Eatery buffet, Pier 7 for all-day brunch and the convenient Surfside Bites window. To chase down the bites, there's The Lemon Post, a brand-new bar that features two menus – one for adults and the other for kids.

• AquaDome – A tranquil oasis by day and vibrant hot spot at night, the new neighborhood is filled with wraparound ocean views, new and returning restaurants and bars, a 55-foot-tall water curtain, and the next-level AquaTheater that debuts the first cast of robots, skateboarders, divers and more. From Royal Caribbean's first foodhall, AquaDome Market, and Rye & Bean – a new bar for lattes and coffee-infused cocktails – to the new Overlook bar and pods, and the cruise line's marquee aqua shows, it's a transformational experience.

• The Hideaway – Tucked away and sitting 135 feet above the ocean is a new neighborhood that combines the good vibes of beach club scenes around the world. The first suspended infinity pool at sea is at the center of it all, and it has 180-degree ocean views that make it the perfect place to watch sunsets from the point of view only a cruise can offer as vacationers enjoy the dedicated DJ and bar.

• Royal Promenade – The heartbeat of Icon features more than 15 restaurants, bars and lounges, including Dueling Pianos, Royal Caribbean's first dueling pianos bar; the new 1400 Lobby Bar, inspired by the history of shipbuilding, with an ocean-facing terrace that opens the reimagined neighborhood to the outdoors for the first time; and favorites with a twist like Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Starbucks and more. The all-time favorite also debuts floor-to-ceiling ocean views, an engineering feat made possible by The Pearl, the world's largest kinetic art sculpture.

• Central Park – Lusher and livelier than ever, the open-air neighborhood is reimagined with more ways to dine, drink and be entertained. Thousands of real plants line new experiences and favorites with a twist, such as the popular Izumi, with a new location and a walkup window; and American steakhouse Chops Grille. Making their debut are spots like Empire Supper Club, an extravagant experience that pairs eight courses with wine, cocktails and music; and Lou's Jazz 'n Blues, for live performances of soulful jazz, jazzy pop music and more.

• Suite Neighborhood – Spanning four decks, Royal Caribbean's most expansive Suite Neighborhood features larger suites, the new Grove Suite Sun Deck, complete with a private pool, whirlpool and dedicated Mediterranean dining; and a now two-level Coastal Kitchen with views of the AquaDome and the ocean.

Icon is also the cruise line's first ship that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a transitional fuel. The dual-fuel engines will work alongside a lineup of energy efficiency initiatives and industry-leading environmental programs on board, like the first waste-to-energy plant at sea. Twenty-four percent more energy efficient than the standards required for ships being designed today, the cruise line's most sustainable ship yet will mark the next step in parent company Royal Caribbean Group's journey to introduce a net-zero cruise ship by 2035.

Princess Goes "All-In" With Its Largest Casino Ever
The largest casino ever built by Princess Cruises is readying to deal a full house of luck on the next-generation, 4,300-guest Sun Princess. The Princess Casino – with an astounding 50% more space and 30% more machines than the line's Royal Class ships – is preparing for guests to hit the jackpot when its newest and most magnificent cruise ship ever, Sun Princess, sets sail in February 2024.

Located on deck 8 adjacent to the bustling Piazza, the Princess Casino offers high ceilings and a spacious floorplan for world-class gaming comfort and entertainment. There will even be several gaming positions infused into in the Piazza, giving guests even easier and faster access to their favorite betting games.

With over 200 of the newest and most popular slots and video poker games, the Princess Casino will feature live table games offering progressive jackpots, as well as a variety of other games Princess players have come to enjoy. Included in the expanded casino will be a first-of-its-kind "Buffalo Zone" at sea – bringing these popular games by Aristocrat to the newest "Love Boat."

"Casino lovers, high rollers or simply those wanting to try a hand during their vacation will be stunned by the new Princess Casino onboard Sun Princess," said John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises. "Princess has embraced the casino experience and is proud to offer such exciting gaming surrounded by absolutely world-class dining and entertainment."

Princess Casino Key Enhancements Onboard Sun Princess

• Nearly 9,000 square feet, featuring 10' ceilings, 227 slot machines and 13 live tables

• Newest and the most comfortable gaming seating available for both slot and table game players

• New linked blackjack and poker table progressives, offering high value cash top awards

• High-limit slot area, with high-end seating

• New gaming experiences and celebrations through an interactive audio-visual experience throughout the casino

Scheduled to debut in February 2024, Sun Princess is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess will offer an array of exciting new entertainment and culinary offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories. With the most balconies and sun decks on any Princess ship, guests can take in the sunshine and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean from the comfort of their stateroom.

Seabourn Makes History as Expedition Ships Meet for First Time in Antarctica
Seabourn celebrated a historical moment when Seabourn Pursuit and Seabourn Venture, the line's two new expedition ships, sailed together side by side for the first time on Wednesday. The sister ships met at the entrance to the picturesque Neko Harbor, surrounded by towering icescapes, to celebrate Seabourn Pursuit's maiden season in Antarctica. To commemorate the historic meeting, guests and team members gathered on the expansive bow of each ship, where caviar and champagne were served.

"It was a very exciting day, and we could not think of a better way to commemorate our first trip to Antarctica than meeting up with our sister ship, Seabourn Venture," said Stig Betten, captain of Seabourn Pursuit. "Many close friends and colleagues from each ship cheered and toasted to each other as we embarked on our expeditions to Antarctica, marking a new era in ultra-luxury expeditions."

"It was an incredible 'Seabourn Moment' for our Seabourn Venture guests and crew as we welcomed Seabourn Pursuit to Antarctica for her first season," said Jeroen Schuchmann, captain of Seabourn Venture. "Seeing our two ships sail side by side at the start of our Antarctica season solidifies the fact that we at Seabourn are able to introduce so many more individuals to breathtaking, remote destinations that few will ever visit."

"It was amazing to wake up this morning and join our guests and team virtually at this historical moment for our Brand. We had a dream to bring Seabourn Signature Luxury to the world of exploration," said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn. "Watching our two-purpose built ultra-luxury expedition ships, Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit, next to each other today, and watching our guests raising champagne to each other with a breathtaking backdrop of Neko Harbor made me so proud. We truly brought this dream to life and redefined expedition experiences."

Seabourn Pursuit just embarked on its maiden season in Antarctica, while Seabourn Venture is beginning its second season on the icy continent. Both ships will operate 11- to 13-day voyages to Antarctica, as well as 21-day voyages to South Georgia, Falkland Islands, and Antarctica. These itineraries will offer included Zodiac outings to cruise among icebergs, observe penguin colonies up close, and join the ship's Expedition Team to walk and hike across untouched and seldom-seen landscapes. Optional kayaking and submarine excursions will also be available.

Launched in 2022 and 2023, respectively, both Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit offer the same luxurious small ship experience that travelers have come to expect from Seabourn, enhanced by world-class equipment that allows the line to offer its widest range of expedition activities led by an expert 24-person expedition team of elite, world-renowned scientists, scholars, naturalists, and more. Designed and built for remote, diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards, the ship includes a plethora of modern hardware and technology that extends the ship's global deployment and capabilities. There is close to 30,000 square feet of deck space and special touches at every turn, as well as indoor and outdoor guest areas with nearly 270-degree views. In addition, a 4K GSS Cineflex Camera is mounted on the mast of the Constellation Lounge and capable of broadcasting imagery from miles ahead on monitors located throughout the ship and in guest suites.

The ships are also equipped with enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity with SpaceX's Starlink, providing its expedition guests with faster service, greater connectivity, and more reliable Wi-Fi wherever Starlink's services are available.

Princess Countdown to Inaugural Season from Port Canaveral
Princess Cruises is gearing up for a momentous occasion one year from today as Caribbean Princess prepares to embark on its first-ever voyage from Port Canaveral, establishing a new homeport in the heart of Central Florida. These sailings promise the classic, premium Princess experience, catering to travelers of all ages, making them ideal for families and multi-generational adventures.

The ship will cast off on Nov. 27, 2024, embarking on its maiden journey from Port Canaveral to Turks & Caicos, offering a delightful four-day Thanksgiving getaway cruise, as Princess Cruises brings the magic of "The Love Boat" to this convenient new departure point.

On sale now, the November 2024 through April 2025 season features 20 cruise departures to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, ranging in length from four to eight days, including:

• Thanksgiving four-day getaway voyage to Turks & Caicos (Nov. 27, 2024)

• Eastern Caribbean six-day cruises to Nassau, Grand Turk and either Amber Cove or San Juan (Dec. 9, 23, 2024; Jan. 6, 20, Feb. 3, 17, March 3, 17, 31, 2025)

• Eastern Caribbean eight-day cruises with St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan and Grand Turk (Dec. 1, 29, 2024; Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 23, 2025)

• Western Caribbean eight-day voyages to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize City and Roatan for Mahogany Bay (Dec. 15, 2024; Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9, April 6, 2025)

Cruisers may opt to combine any six- or eight-day itineraries for a longer 14-day vacation.

"With Port Canaveral being introduced as new home port for us in just one year, our presence in North America expands and provides another major drive market with convenient access, as well as a multitude of flight options in and out of Orlando," said Terry Thornton, chief commercial officer for Princess Cruises. "Plus, we hope many of our guests from Port Canaveral will experience Princess for the first time and discover why our cruise line is so unique, from the Princess MedallionClass experience which offers unparalleled service and personalization, to world-class dining, casual eateries, Broadway-inspired entertainment and incredible family offerings."

Caribbean Princess also offers a wide variety of staterooms that accommodate up to four guests and interconnecting staterooms for families, a Youth and Teen Center for ages 3-17, an outdoor Movies Under the Stars screen to enjoy films, live sports games and more, plus quieter spaces like The Sanctuary for adult guests to relax with the ocean breeze.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.62 + 0.34%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 106.43 + 0.59%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 14.38 - 1.64%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Just before the Imperator entered service in 1913, something was added to her design to ensure that she would be the longest liner in the world. What was added?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - These were the German NDL liners BREMEN and EUROPA. BREMEN burned in WWII and became a total loss, while EUROPA had an illustrious second career as the French LIBERTE.

The Germans also had two dedicated seaplane tenders to service these seaplanes. Those vessels were FRIESENLAND and SCHWABENLAND. While SCHWABENLAND was a conversion from a freighter, FRIESENLAND was custom-built and had a very interesting post-war career as SITMAR's passenger-cargo liner CASTEL NEVOSO. In fact she was a reefer-passenger liner! From 1952 to 1968, she sailed with bananas (and some passengers) between Italy and the former Italian colony of Somaliland (present-day Somalia). She was finally broken up at Faslane in 1969, after 32 years of service. courtesy of Ralph Dazert


Cruise News - November 20, 2023

Carnival Jubilee Successfully Completes Sea Trials
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Jubilee, has successfully completed its first full round of sea trials. Now, she’s one more milestone closer to her monumental debut in Galveston, Tex. on Dec. 23.

Carnival Jubilee’s sea trials successfully completed on Nov. 14. The trials were led by a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested the ship’s technical, mechanical and navigational systems.

“Our all-new Carnival Jubilee performed extremely well through each test we put her through this past week. Now shortly, we’ll start cruising and our team is prepared to welcome our guests from Galveston onto this beautiful new ship,” Captain Andrea Catalani said.

Carnival Jubilee is the first Carnival ship to be built in Germany. She will officially join the fleet when she is delivered to Carnival by shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg on Dec. 4. The ship proudly displays a Texas star on the bow of the ship to pay tribute to Jubilee’s homeport of Galveston. The ship will feature unique concepts in sea-themed zones that will delight guests with delicious food and beverage options, such as the Dr.Inks, Ph.D Bar. Technology and other design elements will transport guests from a sunny pier-like “boardwalk” to an adventurous ocean-floor promenade.

The cruise line’s third ship to be powered by a Liquefied Natural Gas propulsion system, Carnival Jubilee also features other stunning innovations – including top-deck rollercoaster BOLT: The Ultimate Seacoaster, and guest-favorites like Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, and Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken restaurant.

Carnival Jubilee will sail year-round to popular Caribbean destinations, including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Roatan).

Oceania Cruises' Marina to Undergo Extensive Refurbishment in May 2024
Oceania Cruises announced this week that its 1,250-passenger ship, Marina, will undergo an all-encompassing refurbishment in May 2024. The refurbishment will include the addition three new dining options: Aquamar Kitchen, the new wellness-focused dining venue which debuted on Vista this year; an expanded poolside ice cream parlor serving milkshakes and smoothies, plus inventive flavors from artisan ice cream company Humphry Slocombe; and a new casual al fresco trattoria offering sumptuous Italian dishes, including freshly-made pizzas.

Marina is the last of Oceania Cruises' current fleet to be refurbished and means that the line boasts eight new, or better-than-new, ships. Its eighth ship, Allura, is set to launch in Spring 2025.

"Marina is a ship designed by foodies, built by foodies, for foodies," said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "We are renowned for serving The Finest Cuisine at Sea, and this is not just a tagline, it is a mantra which we have built the business around. Food is the foundation of what we do onboard each of our ships, and globally, in the destinations we visit.

"This refresh of Marina will see her updated to offer three exciting new dining venues. We are especially thrilled to expand the Aquamar Kitchen concept to Marina, following its incredible reception from guests since it was unveiled aboard Vista in May."

Marina and her sister Riviera were the very first true foodie ships in the world and are now joined by Vista and Allura. Marina and Riviera were the first ships ever to have an onboard cooking school and have more galley space and more fresh food storage than any other ship. Oceania Cruises has the highest percentage of culinary personnel devoted to the dining experience than any other cruise company. To ensure the impeccable quality of each dish, the line has one chef for every ten guests; half of the crew onboard is dedicated to the cooking or serving of food.

One of the exciting culinary additions to Marina will be Aquamar Kitchen, a new Oceania Cruises signature restaurant which presents wellness-inspired menus, with a hint of indulgence, sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. At breakfast, the smoothies, cold-pressed juices and energy bowls shine, while at lunch the avocado toast selections and globally inspired salads and wraps are incredibly flavorful and satisfying. Heartier options include an Impossible burger, yellowfin tuna tacos and a crunchy chicken sandwich among several others.

To reflect the wellness-inspired dishes, the beverage menu will feature a selection of premium, award-winning non-alcoholic wines, Pierre Zero from France as well as a refreshing collection of mocktails crafted with Lyre's non-alcoholic spirits. Aquamar Kitchen will be open for breakfast and lunch and does not require reservations, and as with all other onboard restaurants, is complimentary for guests.

In the evening, Waves Grill will transform into an al fresco trattoria featuring freshly made pizzas, succulently grilled Italian specialties, spicy dry-rubbed chicken wings, tantalizing salads, rosemary focaccia with lush burrata and indulgent desserts.

For guests with a sweet tooth, an all-day ice cream parlor will be added to the pool deck. Filled with favorite flavors, including options from Humphry Slocombe, plus milkshakes and smoothies, it is sure to entice guests for an afternoon poolside treat.

With the addition of Aquamar Kitchen, Oceania Cruises' signature pairing dinners featured in La Reserve will be showcased in Privée, Marina's exclusive private dining space. This intimate venue will host culinary aficionados for long-standing favorite pairing menus of La Reserve, including the Odyssey Menu and the Dom Pérignon Experience.

In addition to the three new dining options, Marina's private and public spaces will be refreshed to showcase a radiant new ambiance. All upper suites will be reimagined with a revamped look, to become lighter, brighter and seemingly even more spacious thanks to cleverly designed new features. Classic steakhouse Polo Grill will also be enhanced with new carpet, stylish window treatments and a fresh design of the dining chairs.

The Penthouse Suites will be completely refurbished with custom-crafted furniture as well as new closets and cabinetry to increase guest storage space, plus new carpets and upholstery, updated modern lighting and thoughtful details such as more outlets and USB ports. Each Penthouse Suite will have a sleek restyled bathroom, with distinctive Italian marble throughout, abundant drawer space, and generous over-sized showers, offering the elegant residential luxury for which Oceania Cruises is renowned.

Favorite public spaces including Martinis, Horizons, The Grand Dining Room and Library will be elegantly updated with plush new carpets and refreshed upholstery, reflecting a renewed sense of grandeur while maintaining the home-away-from-home ambiance.

The refurbished ship will debut on May 18, 2024, and while the ship will undergo significant cosmetic changes, rest assured that one aspect will remain constant and unchanged: Oceania Cruises' trademark warm and personalized service. Whether guests are sailing for the first time or the fifteenth, they will note the ease with which the staff remembers their names and their preferences along with the genuine smiles and enthusiasm that can only come from the heart.

Seabourn Announces 2026 World Cruise
Seabourn announced this week its "2026 World Cruise – Ring of Fire: Hidden Gems." The 129-day voyage on Seabourn Sojourn will visit 63 extraordinary destinations and ports in 14 countries and offer many new value-added amenities and benefits to elevate the guest experience. The 2026 World Cruise is now open for sale, and the entire itinerary is available on Seabourn's website.

Departing Los Angeles on January 6, 2026, the award-winning, ultra-luxury Seabourn Sojourn will travel approximately 28,000 nautical miles, crossing the International Dateline and Equator not once, but twice. The voyage will explore the lush volcanic islands and atolls of the South Pacific, circumnavigate the wild coasts of Australia, and weave through the beguiling islands of Japan at the cusp of spring flowers season before crossing the North Pacific to Glacier Bay National Park to usher in the Alaskan summer. The sailing will feature five maiden calls and a combination of popular marquee ports, cosmopolitan cities and smaller hidden gems. Guests will enjoy seven overnights and linger late into the evening in seven ports, offering guests ample opportunities to explore these fascinating destinations in depth.

"Our 2026 World Cruise is a masterful mosaic of moments, designed for guests to uncover the hidden gems of the Ring of Fire while enjoying the comfort of Seabourn's signature, ultra-luxury services. Whether they choose to sail the full journey or on one of our shorter segments, our guests will discover a world of hidden gems that very few individuals have ever experienced," said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn. "In addition to offering an unforgettable itinerary, we also worked very hard to provide a number of new amenities to deliver an unparalleled and best ever value for our guests. We invite our extraordinary guests to join us on this voyage that will transcend the boundaries of ultra-luxury travel and provide numerous out of the ordinary experiences."

The 2026 World Cruise includes a meticulously curated, value-packed menu of complimentary benefits and amenities for guests who book the full 129-day World Cruise. These include several new offerings such as private dining experiences and tasting menus, premium internet packages with Starlink technology, medical services package, an extended two-night pre-cruise hotel stay, and a 30 percent increase in shipboard credit of up to USD$10,000 per suite.

In addition, the company invested in providing elevated, exclusive World Cruise Events to deliver unique and unforgettable experiences at select destinations. Available only for guests who book the full World Cruise. These include a Gala Bon Voyage Dinner in Los Angeles the night prior to embarkation, hosted by the Seabourn President; a Private Maori Welcome and performance in Maori Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand; an exclusive dinner with regional cuisine, wines and local entertainment at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens; and an elegant dinner of traditional and modern Japanese dishes and beverages including wines and sakes in Kanazawa. Local shows, regional cuisines, and palate-pleasing wines will be available for all guests to enjoy as they sail around the globe.

A sampling of destination highlights during the "Ring of Fire" World Cruise includes:

Pearls of the South Pacific: Los Angeles to Sydney: Guests will savor a picture-perfect start as they cruise through the stunning volcanic landscapes of Hawaii and French Polynesia, before diving deep into a trove of eight New Zealand ports. Guests will enjoy extended stays in Honolulu, Bora Bora, and Tahiti (Papeete), and an overnight in Auckland, New Zealand, as well as visiting Fiordland National Park, where lush, emerald forests meet pristine fjords. During this segment, the ship will cross two significant milestones – the International Date Line and the Equator. Featured destinations include:

• Suva, Vitu Levu, Fiji: The vibrant heart of Viti Levu's southeastern coast beckons with its tropical allure. A featured shore excursion, "The Jewel of Fiji", lets guests Experience an exhilarating longboat cruise past Fiji's lush tropical rain forest and up a gorge to see cascading waterfalls.

• Mystery Island, Vanuatu– maiden call for Seabourn Sojourn: Situated at the southern tip of the Vanuatu archipelago, Mystery Island beckons with its pristine allure. An optional shore excursion allows guests to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters to see the ecosystem of an undisturbed coral reef.

Coral Coast: Circumnavigation & Sapphire Seas: The voyage will explore the rugged beauty of Australia's host of hidden gems. During this carefully crafted circumnavigation of Australia, guests will have the privilege of exploring 14 distinct Australian ports, all while indulging in overnight stays in Sydney and Melbourne and extended stays in Hobart, Broome, Lombok and Bali before cruising the Kimberley Coast, a world teeming with untouched wilderness and marine life.

• Robe, South Australia – maiden call for Seabourn: Picture perfect amongst the magnificent blues and greens of South Australia's Limestone Coast, this coastal village boasts an abundant tapestry of historic buildings, pristine coastal national parks, eclectic shopping, and bustling food scenes.

• Broome, Western Australia: The gateway to the Kimberley, Broome's history, natural wonders and timeless charm make it a must-visit destination for those seeking history, adventure, and the serenity of Australia's northwest coast. A featured shore excursion includes a sunset Camel ride at Cable Beach.

Isle of Jade and Beyond: Hong Kong to Tokyo (Yokohama): From overnights in the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Busan, and Tokyo, to the tranquil beauty of hidden Japanese ports like Ishigaki, Miyako, and Aomori, each destination tells an exciting new tale, offering nuanced glimpses of their culture, cuisine, and crafts. The mesmerizing circumnavigation of Japan features scenic cruises of the historic Japan Inland Sea and Kanmon Strait.

• Hualien, Taiwan: Often known as the gateway to the breathtaking Taroko Gorge, Hualien's glistening lakes, pristine beaches, epic hiking trails, picturesque rice terraces, and vibrant night markets have a presence all their own. A featured shore excursion welcomes guests to experience the Taroko Gorge, the world's deepest marble canyon.

• Akita and Miyako, Japan – maiden calls for Seabourn: For the first time in Seabourn history, Seabourn Sojourn will travel to the hot springs and samurai districts of Akita and Miyako. Sheltered along the enchanting Sea of Japan coast, Akita boasts a captivating blend of modern and old, with a cityscape that showcases an intriguing contrast of architectural styles. Japan's main island, Miyako, Iwate, is situated along the Pacific coast surrounded by stunning scenery of Sanriku Fukko National Park and a sandy coastline defined by dramatic rock formations carved by the pounding surf.

Golden Gardens & Glaciers: Tokyo (Yokohama) to Vancouver: After an overnight in Tokyo, guests will set sail on a golden transpacific voyage that transports them from the gleaming energy of Golden Week, a period of festivals and family time, through the majestic waters of the Pacific, to the budding seasonal energy of Alaska's Last Frontier. As the sun sets on the journey across the Ring of Fire, smaller ports and lesser sailed waterways reveal life expanding moments, set against the backdrop of rugged volcanic terrain, indigenous history, and seaside gems.

• Kushiro, Japan: A highlight of eastern Hokkaido for many birders because of the possibilities to encounter the red crested or tancho crane. A featured shore excursion welcomes guests to experience Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan's largest marshland to discover more than 2,000 varieties of animals and plants.

• Sitka, Alaska: Sitka is the only Inside Passage community that fronts the Pacific Ocean, hugging Baranof Island's west shore in the shadow of the impressive Mount Edgecumbe.

Royal Caribbean Unveils 2025 European Adventures
Summers in Europe will make for six times the memories as Royal Caribbean International rolls out a new lineup of European vacations for 2025. Families and friends can set their sights on adventure with six action-packed ships sailing from five popular destinations, including Allure of the Seas in Barcelona, Spain, for the first time since 2015 and fan favorites Odyssey, Independence, Explorer, Voyager and Brilliance of the Seas. Ranging from two to 12 nights and featuring bucket-list locales such as Greece, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Spain and France, the new summer 2025 European vacations open for bookings on Royal Caribbean’s website today for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members – ahead of the official opening on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Whether starting from Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Barcelona; Ravenna and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; or Southampton, England, with Royal Caribbean, vacationers have a summer of possibilities and memories in store. The adventure-packed lineup spans the picturesque coasts and cities in the Mediterranean, including Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Greece; Florence (La Spezia), Italy; and Nice (Villefranche), France, and the awe-inspiring landscapes of Dubrovnik, Croatia; Madeira, Portugal; and the Norwegian fjords. Between short getaways and longer adventures, there are ways to explore and discover Europe for everyone.

The memory making extends to the cruise line’s six ships across a signature lineup of thrills and ways to chill. Highlights include Allure’s 30-plus ways to dine and drink in seven neighborhoods, twin FlowRider surf simulators and entertainment across air, ice, water and theater; along with Odyssey’s RipCord by iFly skydiving experience, North Star – the all-glass observation capsule that goes as high as 300 feet above the ocean – and flavors that range from sushi to Italian. And it’s adventures like The Perfect Storm waterslides, mini golf and more that make Independence and Voyager favorites, among more highlights on Explorer and Brilliance.

Europe Summer 2025 Highlights

Allure of the Seas – From Barcelona & Rome (Civitavecchia)
For seven nights, vacationers will visit idyllic destinations in Spain, France and Italy, like Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Florence (La Spezia) and Naples, Italy; and Provence (Marseille), France. Landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the vibrant culture in Mallorca and the famed Neapolitan pizza in Naples await, and in between the adventures on land are those on board. With the return of Allure, the unmatched lineup of game-changing Oasis Class experiences across signature neighborhoods is back. The highlights range from twin rock climbing walls and FlowRider surf simulators to a nine-story-high zip line, restaurants that serve up sushi, hibachi, Italian dishes and American steakhouse classics; theatrical hit – “Mamma Mia!” – and original shows that span air, ice, water and theater.

Odyssey of the Seas – From Rome (Civitavecchia)
The 7- to 12-night adventures are set to visit destinations like Naples; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; and Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Greece. Breathtaking sights are in store, from the iconic white buildings of Santorini to UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Pompeii, Italy, and Odyssey will be the first of its kind to overnight in Istanbul, as part of a unique 10-night vacation. The thrills continue on board with a combination of experiences for all ages, including a vibrant resort-style pool deck; North Star, the highest viewing deck on a cruise ship; skydiving at RipCord by iFly; SeaPlex, the largest indoor and outdoor activity complex at sea, with bumper cars, laser tag, an arcade and more; and 20-plus restaurants, bars and lounges like Teppanyaki, imaginative cuisine at Wonderland, and tropical vibes poolside at The Lime & Coconut bar.

Independence of the Seas – From Southampton
The U.K.’s favorite getaway is back in town after six years, with a series of 2- to 12-night vacations. From short escapes to the culture-rich city of Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium, to seven nights exploring the Norwegian fjords or Spain, Portugal, France and more, the adventures vacationers can choose from run the gamut. Destination highlights include Copenhagen, Denmark; the Canary Islands and Bilbao, Spain; Lisbon and the Azores Islands, Portugal; Paris (Le Havre), and Oslo and Haugesund, Norway. Between the iconic landscapes, landmarks, history and cultures, travelers can enjoy the lineup of amplified experiences on board, including The Perfect Storm racing waterslides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, the Escape Room: The Observatorium and poolside eatery Fish & Ships; and favorites across dining, entertainment and nightlife

Voyager of the Seas – From Athens (Piraeus), Barcelona, Ravenna & Rome (Civitavecchia)
On 7-night vacations to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, adventurers can visit destinations such as Provence (Marseille), France; Sicily and Sardinia, Italy; and Valencia, Spain; and overnights in the vibrant locales of Istanbul and Santorini. Memory making at the popular Marinieres Beach in Nice (Villefranche) and while enjoying gelato in the old town of Dubrovnik are matched by the lineup of amplified adventures on board. Everything is on deck, from The Perfect Storm racing waterslides to glow-in-the-dark laser tag, to ice skating, dedicated kids and teens spaces, a Vitality Spa & Fitness Center, and restaurants like Giovanni’s Table, Izumi and Chops Grille.

Explorer of the Seas – From Ravenna
Travelers can set their sights on the Aegean and Adriatic seas on three different 7-night vacations that visit a mix of the idyllic beaches, forest-clad mountains and crystal-clear waters across destinations like Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Athens (Piraeus) and Argostoli, Greece; and Kotor, Montenegro. From one locale to the next, vacationers can go all in on thrill or kick back on board at the rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, dedicated spaces for kids and teens, the adults-only Solarium pool and more. And when it comes to bites, the flavors range from prime cuts at American steakhouse Chops Grille, to sushi and sashimi at Izumi and family-style Italian classics at Giovanni’s Table.

Brilliance of the Seas – From Athens (Piraeus)
Adventurers have their choice of two sets of 7-night adventures to Cyprus, Greece, the Greek isles and Turkey. They can immerse themselves in ancient history at the likes of the 15th-century castle in Bodrum, Turkey, taste local delicacies at Limassol Marina in Limassol, sip cocktails while overlooking the iconic blue domes of Mykonos and more – even enjoy overnights in Istanbul. On board, travelers can take in breathtaking views through 3 acres of glass and make memories across a variety of dining, entertainment, nightlife and more, including the signature rock climbing wall, mini golf, the Vintages wine bar, Giovanni’s Table, Izumi and the multicourse Chef’s Table.

Carnival Jubilee to Offer Fleet’s First 5G Coverage
Carnival Cruise Line announced today it will introduce further industry-leading innovation aboard the upcoming Carnival Jubilee: 5G mobile connectivity. Carnival Jubilee will be the first Carnival vessel, and the first cruise ship in North America, to provide guests access to 5G mobile phone service through a partnership with leading cellular provider Wireless Maritime Service (WMS).

“Carnival Jubilee will be the fleet’s most-connected ship – literally raising the connectivity bar for our guests and serving as another big step in a period of vigorous advancement of our onboard connectivity,” said Luis Terife, vice president of onboard guest commerce at Carnival Cruise Line. “The ongoing enhancements we’re rolling out on all of our ships, such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, make it significantly easier for guests to share the memorable experiences of their cruise with friends and family.”

Carnival Jubilee will launch in December as 5G-enabled and the service will be available early in 2024. Guests can utilize the enhanced connectivity through service plans for cruise ships provided by their wireless carriers. After the initial launch on Carnival Jubilee, the cruise line plans to enable other ships across its fleet with 5G capabilities.

To meet the growing demand for connectivity at sea, Carnival has also rolled out fleetwide enhancements to its Wi-Fi offerings. The cruise line recently completed upgrades on all of its 25 ships to install necessary infrastructure for the use of SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite service. In addition, Carnival has partnerships with other internet vendors to equip ships with multi-provider functionality, ensuring guests always enjoy access to the most robust and dependable service available while on board.

“We’ve received very positive feedback from our guests who are enjoying the more reliable Wi-Fi across the fleet as we continue to increase our capacity through Starlink and other service providers,” said John Harshaw, vice president of global infrastructure at Carnival Cruise Line. “Our multi-provider, multi-orbit strategy minimizes single-provider supply chain constraints and improves overall connectivity in support of our operations and the enhanced experience for our guests and team members.”

Carnival Jubilee will debut in Galveston on Dec. 23 and sail week-long Western Caribbean itineraries that visit popular destinations such as Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Honduras.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 14.57 + 3.19%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 105.81 + 2.03%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 14.62 + 1.67%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - The first major liner to use this system of stabilizers was Italy's beautiful Conte di Savoia of 1932. She was running mate to the Blue Riband winner Rex. courtesy of David Wallace, Los Angeles, CA.


Cruise News - November 13, 2023

Atlas Ocean Voyages World Voyager Christened and Joins Fleet
Atlas Ocean Voyages, the leader in yacht expedition cruising, celebrates World Voyager officially joining the fleet, following a naming ceremony in Ushuaia, Argentina. The 198-guest expedition yacht was christened by Godmother British physiotherapist and British Army Captain Harpreet "Preet" Kaur Chandi MBE. Naming ceremony attendees included shareholders, maiden voyage guests, travel advisors, media, and local dignitaries. The third vessel in the line's expedition fleet, the sister ship to Atlas Ocean Voyages' World Traveller and World Navigator, will now begin her inaugural deployment for the 2023/24 Antarctica season.

"Today marks another important milestone for Atlas Ocean Voyages as our fleet grows to a trio, delivering year-round polar, epicurean and cultural expedition experiences across the globe," said Rodriguez. "Thank you to Preet for inspiring all of us and the entire Atlas team that continues to execute our vision of year-round expedition yachting."

The shipboard ceremony was presided over by Atlas Ocean Voyages President and CEO James A. Rodriguez, who introduced World Voyager's officers and crew, including Captain Terje Ulset, recognized local Argentine dignitaries, including Vice Governor Mónica Urquiza, and also thanked Father Luis Ascano for being a part of the moving milestone for the expedition cruise line. The ceremony concluded with Godmother Harpreet "Preet" Chandi MBE breaking a bottle of Champagne, raising a glass to lead a toast with Rodriguez as World Voyager embarked on her maiden voyage, a 9-day Antarctic Discovery expedition.

"I'm so excited for you as you begin your first Antarctic Expedition," shared World Voyager Godmother Harpreet "Preet" Chandi. "My journey and now your experience is all about pushing boundaries and experiencing an adventure that will leave you changed."

World Voyager Godmother Preet Chandi gained international recognition in 2022 when she completed a remarkable solo expedition across Antarctica to the South Pole. In January 2023, she further solidified her place in polar exploration history by recording the longest-ever solo and unsupported polar expedition by a woman of color. Her outstanding achievements were acknowledged when she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 Birthday Honors.

World Voyager joins Atlas' two other luxury yachts, World Traveller and World Navigator, in expeditions sailing to Antarctica on 9- to 14-night round trips from Ushuaia, Argentina. Atlas includes a pre-cruise hotel stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and roundtrip charter air service from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Expeditions include a FREE Cultural Immersion tour, all Zodiac experiences, landings ashore, and all-inclusive amenities on board. Kayaking and camping activities are available as optional experiences.

World Voyager is among the most advanced and safest expedition yachts like her Atlas fleet mates. The Polar Category C- and Ice Class 1B-certified vessel features two Rolls Royce 9,000 kw hybrid diesel/electric engines and incorporates 3D forward-looking sonar (FLS) technology to detect underwater hazards, obstacles, and shallows. The state-of-the-art system enables the ship to navigate ice fields, harbors, and rivers for convenient access to city centers, exclusive yacht harbors, and rarely visited destinations.

World Voyager exudes elegance and sophistication reminiscent of the Scandinavian style. This Nordic chic design accentuates light ash wood tones and stylish contrasts of marble accents throughout accommodations and social spaces. Such attention to detail creates an open and airy atmosphere that invites explorers to unwind in a warm, comfortable atmosphere on board. Spacious suites and staterooms offer five-star comfort and convenience and feature traditional maritime design cues like rich wood veneers complemented by contemporary furnishings and classic artwork. The ship's main dining room has been named Madeira as an homage to the breathtaking natural settings, crystal-clear waters, and centuries-old traditions of the Portuguese archipelago. Similarly, the lecture hall where Expedition Team members host illustrated enrichment talks is named Amerigo Vespucci Auditorium after the famed explorer. In addition to her Atlas navy blue livery, she features the popular 7-Aft Grill, Atlas Lounge, the forward-facing observation Lounge, The Dome observation lounge, and guest favorite Paula's Pantry.

MSC Cruises Orders Two New Environmentally-advanced World Class Ships
MSC Cruises today confirmed the order of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessels with French ship builder Chantiers de l’Atlantique. This sees the two World Class options confirmed as firm orderswith an option for a fifth ship. The two new ordered vessels – currently referred to as World Class 3 and 4 - will be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

MSC World Europa and MSC World America are already the most energy efficient ships in the industry performing significantly better than the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirement, and the new ships will be an evolution of the state-of-the-art World Class prototype with innovative solutions to maximise the energy efficiency, with extensive use of heat recovery and other technological solutions, which will see the vessels having an even further reduced carbon footprint. In addition, the new ships will be ready for a variety of alternative fuels including bio and synthetic methane and green methanol. The ships will also be fitted with the next generation dual fuel internal combustion engines with reduced methane slip.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said, “We are proud to continue our 20-year partnership with the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, with whom we have already built 18 ships with our 19 under construction. The World Class is a truly innovative prototype and together we are building some of the most advanced ships in the world. We are committed to researching and investing in future environmental technologies as they become available, to ensure we continue progressing on our decarbonisation journey to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique added, “At a difficult time for the European shipbuilding industry, MSC Cruises has shown its confidence in our abilities and skills with this order. We would therefore like to express our gratitude to MSC Cruises for its renewed confidence at this crucial time. In addition, MSC Cruises, always seeking to reduce the environmental impact of its ships quickly and significantly, has accepted a significant cost premium to improve the energy efficiency of these new ships which, according to the IMO's EEDI index, will emit 50% less CO2 than the IMO's 2008 benchmark.”

Castaing continued, “We would also like to thank our government, whose support for our R&D policy to make our ships greener has enabled us to meet the customer's expectations for this order.”

The new World Class vessels will feature shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce carbon emissions in port, the most advanced wastewater treatment systems designed in line with the IMO, new advances in waste management, and a comprehensive range of onboard energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use and hotel energy needs to further reduce emissions.

Carnival Cruise Line Opens More 2025-26 West Coast Sailings
Carnival Cruise Line is adding more fun from the West Coast, including a new cruise to kick off Carnival Firenze’s debut in Long Beach, Calif. next spring. As Carnival continues to unlock its 2025-26 deployment, many more sailings on Carnival Firenze and Carnival Radiance opened today with an array of itineraries featuring Mexican destinations. The cruise line is also adding to its Carnival Journeys program of longer sailings with new Hawaii cruises. To see all sailings currently available from Long Beach, click here.

Cruises to Mexico

The new sailings now available from Long Beach add more options for guests sailing from the West Coast, where Carnival currently offers itineraries ranging from short weekend getaways to 15-day cruises. The new itineraries feature popular destinations such as Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Catalina Island, Calif.

New sailings added to Carnival Firenze’s deployment schedule include a range of four-, five- and six-day sailings, with the six-day itineraries calling in Cabo San Lucas for two days. Carnival Radiance’s newly opened itineraries offer several three-, four- and five-day options.

In addition to new options now open for sale from the fall of 2025 and into the spring of 2026, Carnival has also opened an additional sailing for Carnival Firenze next spring, moving up the ship’s inaugural sailing to April 25, 2024. The ship’s first sailing from Long Beach will be a seven-day cruise visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas.

The 4,126-guest Carnival Firenze will bring Carnival Fun Italian Style experiences to Long Beach when it launches next year. Architecturally styled after its namesake, the city of Florence, Italy, the ship’s Italian design will complement dining and bar venues, such as the new specialty restaurant Il Viaggio, as well as unique entertainment programming, including an Italian-themed deck party on Lido, that have proven popular on sister ship Carnival Venezia. More details about Carnival Firenze will be announced ahead of its debut next spring.

Carnival Journeys Cruises to Hawaii

Six new Carnival Journeys sailings from Long Beach to Hawaii are now open on Carnival Radiance. The 14-day sailings will offer guests truly memorable cruise vacations visiting stunning destinations across the Hawaiian Islands, including Maui, Honolulu, Kauai and Hilo, along with a stop in Ensenada. In 2025, Carnival Radiance will cruise to Hawaii on Oct. 18 and Nov. 29. The 2026 departures are set for Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 7 and April 4.

The 2,984-guest Carnival Radiance features many of the ‘Fun Ship’ staples guests know and love, such as the RedFrog Pub and BlueIguana Cantina, plus some newer favorites, including Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse and Shaq’s Big Chicken.

Disney Cruise Line Celebrates Opening of New Cruise Terminal at Port Everglades
The magic of Disney Cruise Line has officially arrived at Broward County’s Port Everglades in greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier today, Disney Cruise Line, along with port and community leaders, celebrated the opening of the new dedicated cruise terminal and Disney Cruise Line’s second year-round homeport in Florida.

“The grand opening of our new dedicated terminal is an incredible milestone as we embark on the largest expansion in our cruise line’s history,” said Sharon Siskie, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Cruise Line. “Now our guests will have even more options to experience the magic of a Disney vacation at sea and can begin creating lifelong memories with their loved ones from the moment they arrive.”

Port Everglades’ ideal location in South Florida offers guests the opportunity to experience beautiful beaches, world-class entertainment, shopping, and dining, as well as family and cultural activities, before or after their cruise. It is also conveniently located near major airports and highways, allowing guests to easily travel to and from the port.

Once guests arrive to the terminal to embark on their voyage, they will “dive” into the world of Disney and Pixar’s film, “Finding Nemo,” with some of their favorite friends from the film displayed on colorful murals. The more than 104,000-square foot terminal was reimagined by Walt Disney Imagineering exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests to provide a seamless embarkation experience.

Port leaders attended the dedication ceremony, including Port Everglades CEO and port director, Jonathan Daniels. He stated that, “Disney Cruise Line is adding a new dimension to the Port Everglades experience. Our staff is looking forward to this new journey with Disney Cruise Line and further diversifying our cruise portfolio to reach a broader audience.”

Broward County Mayor Lamar P. Fisher also attended the grand opening celebration, along with federal, state, and local leaders, and said, “Dream vacations start here in Broward County. The addition of Disney Cruise Line in our community provides travelers with more vacation options at Port Everglades, while boosting our local economy and creating more than 1,100 direct local jobs.”

Disney Cruise Line is committed to creating a lasting, positive impact in port communities. In recognition of Disney’s arrival to Port Everglades, the cruise line announced new community investments in Junior Achievement South Florida and Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. The donations will support a variety of initiatives, including programs that inspire career exploration, innovation, and storytelling.

“Being a good steward in the port communities where Disney Cruise Line operates is so important to us. We’re proud to continue to invest in local youth programs that help empower and inspire the next generation of dreamers in Broward County,” Siskie said. Collaboration with these organizations will also provide Disney Cruise Line cast and crew, both on land and at sea, with the opportunity to volunteer as mentors and engage with local students through various educational programs.

“Community partners, like Disney Cruise Line, play a pivotal role in empowering the youth of today, shaping their futures for tomorrow. This support is not just a financial contribution, it’s an investment in the next generation,” said Laurie Sallarulo, president & CEO of Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA).

Disney Cruise Line’s donation to Junior Achievement of South Florida will support the JA Career Bound and JA Pre-Apprenticeship programs, including a special marine service technician track that educates students about the maritime industry, marine basics and engine fundamentals.

Chris Gentile, Co-CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, added, “The impact of Disney Cruise Line’s commitment reaches the very heart of our mission, which is to empower and uplift the youth of Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.” Disney Cruise Line’s donation will help strengthen and support several of the organization’s initiatives, such as the Youth of the Year program.

The Disney Dream will begin sailing from Port Everglades on November 20, 2023, followed by the Disney Magic on May 9, 2024, offering guests the opportunity to sail on a mix of three-, four- and five-night cruises to tropical destinations in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

As part of Disney Cruise Line’s expansion, Disney Cruise Line and Broward County previously announced a 15-year agreement that includes a minimum 10.6 million passenger movements, and three 5-year extension options that could add another 11.25 million passenger movements. The agreement provides for one ship to homeport in Port Everglades year-round beginning this fall 2023, joined by a second, seasonal ship in 2025.

Holland America Line Announces 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica Cruises
Bookings are now open for Holland America Line's 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica season. Featuring a series of longer cruises up to 22 days, guests can experience the region's captivating blend of diverse cultures, breathtaking natural landscapes and rich historical heritage — including 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

From November 2025 through March 2026, Oosterdam cruises between San Antonio (Santiago), Chile, and either Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The itineraries offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for travelers, showcasing the iconic sites of South America like Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu and Torres del Paine National Park, along with Antarctica's memorable scenery and wildlife.

"South America is a vibrant region that offers contrasting experiences within one cruise, sailing from the tropics to glaciers and busy cities to some of the most remote places in the world," said Dan Rough, vice president, revenue management, Holland America Line. "Our mid-sized ships make it possible to craft itineraries that feature an exciting collection of South American ports; and our menus, enrichment and entertainment on board ensure guests come away feeling deeply connected to the places they visited."

Highlights of the South America and Antarctica Season aboard Oosterdam:

14-day "South America Passage" itineraries cruise between San Antonio (Santiago) and Buenos Aires:

• Guests enjoy an overnight visit at Buenos Aires at the beginning or end of each cruise, giving extra time to take in a tango show and experience the nightlife of one of South America's most vibrant cities.

• Ports include Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco and Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; and Montevideo, Uruguay.

• Scenic cruising includes the Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan, Beagle and Cockburn Channels, Glacier Alley and rounding Cape Horn.

• Departures: Dec. 4, 2025, and Feb. 22 and March 8, 2026.

17-Day "Panama Canal and Inca Discovery" cruises sail between Fort Lauderdale and San Antonio (Santiago):

• Two nights at Callao (Lima), Peru, allow extra time for guests to take an overland tour to Machu Picchu.

• An overland tour to the Galapagos Islands is available.

• Calls in Grand Cayman, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, with an overnight at Fuerte Amador, Panama.

• A journey between Atlantic and Pacific oceans with a transit through the lakes and locks of the famed Panama Canal.

• Departures: Nov. 17, 2025, and March 22, 2026.

22-Day "South America and Antarctica" itineraries cruise between San Antonio (Santiago) and Buenos Aires:

• An overnight visit at Buenos Aires at the beginning or end of the cruise.

• Calls in Uruguay, Argentina, Falkland Islands and Chile.

• Four memorable days exploring the vistas of Antarctica, guided by a naturalist who comes on board to point out penguin colonies and whale pods.

• Scenic cruising in the Chilean fjords, Drake Passage, Beagle Channel and Glacier Alley.

• Departures: Dec. 18, 2025 (holiday cruise), and Jan. 9 and 31, 2026.

Collectors' Voyages Combine Back-to-Back Cruises
The "Panama Canal and Inca Discovery" itineraries can be combined with the "South America Passage" cruises to form a 31-day exploration between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires. Merging back-to-back sailings into one Collectors' Voyage allows guests to create an extended cruise vacation that visits different areas of South America.

An Abundance of UNESCO Sites in South America
Holland America Line 2025–2026 South America cruises visit 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. This esteemed collection represents the best of human heritage and the natural world: Archaeological Site of Old Panama and Historical District of Panama, the city of Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso, Torres del Paine National Park, Alberto de Agostini National Park, Cape Horn, Los Glaciares National Park, Galapagos Islands, Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, Argentina's Valdes Peninsula, Lima's Historical Centre, Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento, Iguazu Falls and Iguazu National Park.

Authentic Experiences On Board and Ashore
On South America and Antarctic cruises, Holland America Line brings local flavors on board. Guests enjoy fresh, locally sourced specialties such as Chilean salmon, stuffed empanadas, and world-renowned wines including Malbec, Carménère, Torrontés and more. On immersive shore excursions, guests can visit an indigenous Emberá tribe, meet a real Chilean huaso (cowboy), learn to craft a traditional Panama hat or enjoy an intimate dinner at an Argentine "closed-door restaurant."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 12.78 + 4.24%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 97.84 + 8.18%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 13.10 - 0.08%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Prior to the introduction of fin stabalizers, some ships used a gyro-stabilizer system to combat rolling. What was the name of the first major liner to use this gyro-stabilizer system?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which famous French liner caught fire in April 1939 while tied up at her pier and capsized the next morning from having too much water poured onto her upper decks? Bonus: What happened to her after that?

Answer - This liner was the PARIS. She burned in the port of LE HAVRE and wreck stayed 10 years on place because of war, and was scraped on place. courtesy of ernando Molina, Seville, Spain.


Cruise News - November 6, 2023

Explora I in New York City Marks Explora Journeys’ Debut in the U.S.
Explora Journeys, the luxury travel brand of MSC Group, today will celebrate the naming ceremony of EXPLORA I in New York City.

The maritime tradition of cutting a ribbon to break a bottle of champagne on the ship’s bow to officially name the ship and bring good luck, will be conducted by EXPLORA I’s Godmother Dr Sylvia Earle, the renowned marine biologist and oceanographer, at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group, said, “In the world of luxury travel, EXPLORA I is a game-changer. We are offering journeys that redefine the very essence of luxurious ocean travel. We are looking to attract a wider group of discerning travelers who have experienced the finest luxury land-based resorts but seek more value, more authenticity, and a deeper connection to the world. Explora Journeys is the answer by giving you a way to discover off the beaten track destinations by sea, all whilst enjoying some of the best real estate in the world. With a further five ships joining the fleet in the next five years, we are committed to delivering the same unique experience on board, wherever you are in the world.”

Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys, added, “Today’s event is a significant milestone for Explora Journeys as our first ship EXPLORA I brings to life our vision to reshape luxury travel. . We are proud to introduce a new era of discovery and luxurious travel and to showcase our first ship in the vibrant city of New York."

Dr Sylvia Earle, Founder and Chairman, Mission Blue, said “I am honoured to be the Godmother for EXPLORA I and look forward to a meaningful relationship between Mission Blue, Explora Journeys and the MSC Foundation towards making a very positive contribution to protect and restore the world’s seas and oceans.”

EXPLORA I, the first of six luxury ships constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri in a deal valued at €3.5 billion, began sailing in July this year with a series of journeys in Northern Europe before crossing the Atlantic to New York with visits en route to Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

The ship has 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences, six restaurants, 12 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, extensive outdoor decks with private cabanas and nearly 1,000 square metres of wellness and fitness facilities.

The luxury ship will spend the autumn in North America, the winter in the Caribbean and spring on the U.S West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Europe in Summer 2024 for a series of sailings in the Mediterranean Sea with many itineraries including lesser-travelled ports for EXPLORA I’s guests to enjoy a different perspective of a destination.

EXPLORA II will enter service in summer 2024 and operate until April 2025 in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV will both be powered by liquefied natural gas and enter service in 2026 and 2027 respectively. EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI will enter service in 2027 and 2028 respectively and both will have state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures and be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas. These two ships will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off.

Celebrity Cruises Takes Delivery of Highly Anticipated Celebrity Ascent
Celebrity Ascent has officially joined Celebrity Cruises' fleet of award-winning ships redefining premium travel, as company officials took delivery of its newest ship at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. The fourth ship in the line's innovative Edge Series, Celebrity Ascent continues to shatter preconceived notions of cruising with its forward-thinking design by the world's leading architects and interior designers; culinary excellence from Michelin starred chefs; wellness woven throughout the experience; expansive onboard entertainment and more. Celebrity Ascent will make her official debut in Fort Lauderdale on December 3, with a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing visiting such popular destinations as St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic.

Welcoming the ship to the Celebrity Cruises family were Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, Celebrity Cruises President Laura Hodges Bethge, and Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique. Captains Dimitrios Kafetzis and Tasos Kafetzis, the first brother captains honored with taking a new ship from the shipyard, were also on-hand for the celebration, along with 1,400 Celebrity Ascent crew members.

To mark the moment, they participated in several maritime traditions including the signing ceremony and the changing of flags onboard the ship, along with a celebratory toast in the ship's spectacular three-story Grand Plaza.

"Celebrity Ascent is yet another example of innovation driving our mission to provide the best vacations responsibly. The ship continues Celebrity's ambition to redefine premium travel and take it to new heights," said Liberty. "I want to thank and congratulate the Chantiers de l'Atlantique team, our Newbuild and Celebrity Cruises' teams and their partners for the vision, craftsmanship and passion that went into bringing this spectacular ship to life."

"Celebrity Ascent features all the innovative and award-winning Edge Series signature experiences that launched a new era in cruise ship design, plus a few new enhancements, and I can't wait to welcome our guests aboard," said Hodges-Bethge. "It is a true honor to welcome this ship to our fleet and I am so grateful to everyone involved with all that goes into launching a new ship."

"I am convinced that Celebrity Ascent will meet the same success as the other ships in the prestigious Edge Series. Its fine exterior and interior design and its exceptional seaworthiness make it an outstanding ship. Celebrity Ascent embodies the strong bond between the Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Royal Caribbean Group and Celebrity Cruises teams," said Chantiers de l'Atlantique General Director Laurent Castaing."

Largest Princess Cruise Ship Ever Homeported at the Port of Galveston Debuts for Inaugural Season
Regal Princess arrived in Galveston today, marking the start of a milestone cruise season as the largest Princess cruise ship ever based in Texas. Carrying 3,560 guests, Regal Princess offers roundtrip voyages to the Western Caribbean through March 24 with an anticipated 75,000 cruisers sailing aboard this Love Boat from this convenient, scenic Texas homeport.

To celebrate the occasion, Princess Cruises Chief Commercial Officer Terry Thornton, Regal Princess Captain Aldo Traverso and Celebrations Ambassador Jill Whelan hosted a traditional maritime plaque exchange with Galveston Wharves Board Vice Chairman Jeff Patterson. A festive performance by Galveston's local Ball High School Drill Team Tornettes and school mascot Tuffy kicked off the event.

"We first started sailing out of Galveston nearly 20 years ago. Princess loves Texas and we know Texans enjoy the convenience of having the Love Boat so close by offering a hassle-free drive or convenient fly option to enjoy the beautiful destinations in the Western Caribbean," said Thornton. "As we celebrate the arrival of Regal Princess, we extend our deep appreciation to the Port of Galveston for their ongoing partnership, and we're excited to welcome aboard the only premium cruise experience from Galveston."

Regal Princess begins a series of 21 voyages from Galveston, ranging in length from seven- to 12-days, visiting popular destinations in the Western Caribbean and Mexico like Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan. Cruisers can also choose special holiday sailings over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. There is even a "Love and Romance Celebration" themed cruise with Love Ambassador and bridal fashion icon Randy Fenoli, departing Dec. 3. He will host special events, share his personal success story, offer tips on how to choose the right wedding dress and even debut the "Randy" cocktail.

"Princess Cruises is an iconic cruise line and we're delighted to welcome guests from Regal Princess, the largest Love Boat to ever sail from Galveston," said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO. "Regal Princess will visit beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean while expanding the array of attractive and enticing cruise vacation choices from Galveston, America's fourth most popular homeport."

The 142,229-ton Regal Princess boasts 19 decks and features ocean views from more than 1,400 stateroom balconies. Guests can stroll on the SeaWalk, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, take an inviting dip in top-deck pools and hot tubs and relax in the Sanctuary retreat reserved for adults. From the cruise line's delicious array of dining options, mesmerizing entertainment and welcoming MedallionClass service, Regal Princess offers something for everyone.

To mark the 20th anniversary of when Princess first started sailing out of Galveston and the 10th anniversary of the debut of Regal Princess, the ship will return for another series of Western Caribbean cruises for the 2024-2025 season. Cruises are on sale now.

Azamara Appoints New Executive Leadership
Azamara, the small-ship cruise line and leader in Destination Immersion experiences and Extended Destination Days, today announced the appointment of two senior executives to lead the company in its next phase of growth.

Dondra Ritzenthaler has been named Incoming Chief Executive Officer. A 40-year veteran of the travel industry, Ms. Ritzenthaler was most recently the Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Services for the Americas for Celebrity Cruises. Prior to her 20 years with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, she spent nearly 20 years with American Airlines in a number of sales and marketing leadership roles. Ms. Ritzenthaler will begin at Azamara in May 2024. Until that time, Chair of Azamara, Dan Hanrahan, will provide day-to-day leadership and oversight of the team.

"Azamara provides a unique and exciting offering within the luxury cruise space, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the company into its next chapter," said Ritzenthaler. "I look forward to working with the talented team and their travel partners to better serve the customer base and grow the Azamara brand."

Alain Ferzli joins Azamara as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ferzli has more than 20 years of significant experience driving profitable growth in the cruise industry. He served as the acting Chief Financial Officer for Virgin Voyages and in various financial leadership roles with Royal Caribbean.

Mr. Hanrahan commented, "Our team has worked diligently to maintain a solid foundation for Azamara amid unique industry-wide challenges over the last several years. Dondra and Alain's deep knowledge of and experience leading cruise lines will support the shift of our focus to expanding our business and realizing Azamara's full potential."

Oceania Cruises Releases New 2024 Itineraries
Oceania Cruises, the world's leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, has revamped its 2024 Mediterranean schedule to replace ports of call in Israel, Egypt, and Jordan with perennial favorites and compelling new destinations alike. The 42 revised itineraries range from 10 to 58 days - detailed itineraries can be viewed online.

"Our captivating new voyages have been carefully curated to combine beloved beach resorts and jet-set playgrounds with ancient cities steeped in tradition," stated Frank A. Del Rio, president of Oceania Cruises. "Seasoned travelers will appreciate our strategic and thoughtful realignment of destinations and itineraries to ensure their safety, security and peace of mind."

Oceania Cruises' simply MORE value promise means virtually everything is included in the voyage fare: free roundtrip airfare and airport transfers; complimentary vintage Champagnes, premium wines and international beers during lunch and dinner; and a shore excursion credit of up to $1,600 per stateroom (credit varies by voyage length).

New 2024 Mediterranean Itineraries

April 21: 10 days from Valletta to Trieste aboard Vista
Enjoy the best of the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Adriatic seas. Classical sights can be appreciated in Valletta, Heraklion, Athens, Dubrovnik and Venice, while sybaritic pleasures line the cobblestone streets of Santorini, Mykonos, Kotor and Rovinj. The following Around the World and Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• March 27: 35 days from Miami to Trieste

• April 11: 20 days from Rome to Trieste

May 13: 24 days from Dubai to Barcelona aboard Insignia
On this epic voyage travelers can visit astonishing historical treasures in Athens, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Rome and Barcelona, plus delight in discovering the resorts of Santorini, Capri and Monte Carlo. The following Around the World and Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

May 14: 15 days from Dubai to Trieste aboard Riviera
Enjoy leisurely days as you traverse the Arabian, Red, Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. Highlights include Argostoli and Corfu in Greece, Montenegro and Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia. An optional post-cruise hotel stay is offered in Venice. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• April 13: 58 days from Tokyo to Barcelona

• April 28: 43 days from Singapore to Barcelona

• May 14: 34 days from Dubai to Rome

• May 14: 27 days from Dubai to Barcelona

May 18: 14 days from Barcelona to Rome aboard Marina On this two-week journey quaint, white-washed houses compete for attention with centuries-old attractions. Guests enjoy an idyllic blend of must-see cities like Barcelona, Athens, and Rome, plus the well-known resorts of Palma de Mallorca, Corfu, Santorini and Sorrento, gateway to Capri.

May 21: 11 days from Rome to Trieste aboard Vista Travelers can revel in the wonders of antiquity at mainland ports in Italy, Greece, and Croatia, plus explore the islands of Sicily, Malta, Corfu, and Montenegro. Optional pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are offered for guests to visit Rome and Venice. The following Grand Voyage reflects these changes:

• May 11: 21 days from Istanbul to Trieste

May 29: 12 days from Trieste to Barcelona aboard Riviera
Set a course for excitement on this new itinerary that promises something for everyone. Ports along the Dalmatian Coast, the islands of Montenegro, Corfu, Malta and Sicily, and history-rich Pompeii, Rome, and Florence, plus St. Tropez. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• May 29: 19 days from Trieste to Rome

• May 29: 29 days from Trieste to Istanbul

• June 1: 11 days from Trieste to Athens aboard Vista
From Trieste, the ship heads for the Adriatic coastal resorts of Zadar, Dubrovnik, Kotor, and Bari before making landfall at ports in Turkey and Greece. Optional pre- and post-cruise hotel stays allow guests to visit Venice and Athens. The following Grand Voyage also reflects these changes:

June 1: 18 days from Trieste to Istanbul

July 7: 10 days from Athens to Istanbul aboard Riviera
Itinerary highlights include historic sites in Greece and Turkey, including UNESCO-protected Ephesus, and the quintessential Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini, plus ancient Crete. An overnight in Istanbul allows time to shop for treasures at the Grand Bazaar. The following Grand Voyage also reflects these changes:

• June 27: 20 days from Istanbul to Istanbul

July 24: 10 days from Athens to Barcelona aboard Riviera
This voyage is a journey of discovery from East to West. Highlights include iconic places like Athens, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona, as well as popular Greek islands, Sicily and jet-set resorts along the Amalfi Coast and French Riviera.

August 13: 12 days from Rome to Rome aboard Riviera
In 12 days, inquisitive travelers can explore the many historic riches of Rome, Athens and Pompeii, plus visit the Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean islands of Malta, Mykonos, Santorini, Sicily and Crete. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• August 3: 22 days from Barcelona to Rome

• August 13: 22 days from Rome to Monte Carlo

September 28: 10 days from Athens to Istanbul aboard Riviera
This cruise combines the Croatian city of Dubrovnik and remote Kotor with beloved Mykonos and Santorini, and the classical antiquity of Athens, Crete, and Ephesus. An overnight aboard ship in Istanbul provides time to visit the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

October 2: 14 days from Barcelona to Valletta aboard Marina This comprehensive voyage on the Mediterranean and Aegean seas enables visitors to discover iconic sights in Barcelona, Florence, Rome, and Dubrovnik, savor the seaside resorts of Toulon, Portofino and Capri, and explore the island gems of Corsica, Sicily, Corfu, and Malta. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• September 22: 24 days from London to Valletta

• September 22: 34 days from London to Rome

• October 2: 24 days from Barcelona to Rome

October 16: 10 days from Valletta to Rome aboard Marina
The islands of Malta, Montenegro, Corfu and Sicily are chock-full of historic attractions, plus this itinerary also visits Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Katakolon, Greece; and Bari, Naples and Rome, Italy. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• October 16: 20 days from Valletta to Barcelona

• October 16: 42 days from Valletta to Miami

October 20: 10 days from Athens to Rome aboard Vista
Athens, Gythoin, Argostoli and Corfu in Greece, the Dalmatian coastal treasures of Kotor and Dubrovnik, and the medieval island of Malta are complemented by calls at Messina, Salerno and Rome in Italy. The following Grand Voyage also reflects these changes:

October 13: 17 days from Barcelona to Rome

October 30: 12 days from Rome to Athens aboard Vista
Intriguing islands like beguiling Mykonos and Corfu in Greece, stunning Montenegro, legendary Sicily, and medieval Malta, are combined with Rome, Cinque Terre, Toulon, Dubrovnik and Athens, birthplace of democracy. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• October 30: 21 days from Rome to Rome

• October 30: 36 days from Rome to Miami

November 11: 9 days from Athens to Rome aboard Vista
On this comprehensive itinerary, travelers can visit classical sites in Athens, Gythion and Argostoli in Greece, the islands of Montenegro, Malta and Sicily, plus Dubrovnik, Salerno and Rome. The following Grand Voyage also reflects these changes:

• November 11: 24 days from Athens to Miami

Nov 24: 18 days from Istanbul to Dubai aboard Riviera
Sailing from Istanbul, fun-loving Mykonos, ancient Athens, the walled city of Dubrovnik, and the lesser-known resorts of Kotor and Argostoli give way to leisurely days at sea. Guests enjoy an overnight call in Dubai before disembarkation. The following Grand Voyages also reflect these changes:

• November 14: 28 days from Barcelona to Dubai

• November 24: 28 days from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi

• November 24: 49 days from Istanbul to Singapore

Celebrity Cruises Reveals Name of Next Edge Series Ship
The countdown is on, and the future of elevated travel at sea is officially on its way. Celebrity Cruises announced today that the fifth ship in its award-winning Edge Series will be named Celebrity Xcel, continuing the innovative experiences coveted in her sister ships and then going even further for an unmatched premium vacation experience.

The reveal was made at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, as executives from both Royal Caribbean Group, the world's leading family of cruise vacation brands that includes Celebrity Cruises, and the shipyard cut the first piece of steel for the new ship.

"The Edge Series has shattered preconceived notions of cruising, and I am thrilled to announce our next bold step as a brand with Celebrity Xcel," said Celebrity Cruises' President Laura Hodges Bethge. "True to her name, this next ship will 'Xcel' beyond her sister ships with entirely new experiences, yet to be revealed, but that will change the game all over again."

Celebrity Xcel will make her debut in November 2025 in the Caribbean, sailing her inaugural winter season from Fort Lauderdale, on 7-night itineraries alternating between the Bahamas, Mexico and the Cayman Islands, and Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. The sailings are now open for sale.

Like her highly anticipated sister ship Celebrity Ascent, debuting later this month, Celebrity Xcel will connect guests to the breath-taking world around them like never before. The onboard experiences on these ships stand them apart as a class of ships without comparison with such distinctive features and spaces as:

• The Retreat, an exclusive resort-within-a-resort area for suite guests, highlighted by a two-story sundeck;

• Accommodations for today's modern tastes from modern two-story villas with private plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living;

• An expanded Rooftop Garden and stunning Resort Deck featuring unique cantilevered float pools;

• A multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar redefining the ship's aft;

• A Daniel Boulud fine-dining restaurant at sea;

• Live entertainment and activities creating the best date nights and days at sea;

• A boldly redesigned Grand Plaza spanning three decks, creating an airy and open indoor space;

• And, the return of the Magic Carpet, an engineering feat soaring cantilevered above the sea, offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 12.26 + 7.54%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 90.44 + 5.33%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 13.11 - 3.03%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous French liner caught fire in April 1939 while tied up at her pier and capsized the next morning from having too much water poured onto her upper decks? Bonus: What happened to her after that?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner is credited with starting the Art Deco movement at sea and what year did she enter service?

Answer - The liner which started it all was Transat's Ile-de-France of 1927......and what a beauty she was!!!!! courtesy of D. Heiningn


Cruise News - October 30, 2023

Carnival Jubilee Completes River Conveyance as She Readies for Sea Trials
Carnival Jubilee, which is set to debut in Texas in December, successfully finished a nautical feat as the first Carnival Cruise Line ship to complete a conveyance of the river Ems in northwest Germany. The first Carnival ship built at Meyer Werft, Carnival Jubilee was successfully transferred from the German shipyard in Papenburg to Eemshaven, Netherlands ahead of its upcoming sea trials.

To complete the conveyance, an experienced team at the helm of Carnival Jubilee sailed the Ems backwards toward the North Sea – departing Papenburg early Monday morning with the support of two tugboats to help with maneuverability. A group of Ems River pilots, the Pilot Brotherhood of Emden, assisted in carrying out the transfer. The pilots are highly trained and use state-of-the-art technology, including a realistic simulation of the river, to prepare for the passage.

The ship was carefully guided through narrow channels and under several bridges before arriving in Eemshaven early Tuesday morning, ahead of the first round of sea trials which begin on Nov. 5. Carnival Jubilee will be led and manned during the sea trials by a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board to thoroughly test its technical, mechanical and navigational systems.

Meanwhile, work on board continues as shipbuilders are outfitting Carnival Jubilee with the amenities guests will enjoy when sailings begin from Galveston. Exclusive new concepts in sea-themed areas of the ship will delight guests with delicious food and beverage options, such as the Dr.Inks, Ph.D Bar, as technology and other design elements transport them from a sunny pier-like “boardwalk” to an adventurous ocean-floor promenade. The cruise line’s third ship to be powered by a Liquefied Natural Gas propulsion system, Carnival Jubilee also features other stunning innovations – including top-deck rollercoaster BOLT: The Ultimate Seacoaster.

Carnival Jubilee’s first revenue cruise will depart from Galveston on Dec. 23. The ship will sail weeklong cruises to popular Caribbean destinations, including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Roatan).

Royal Caribbean Group Reports Third Quarter Results
Royal Caribbean Group today reported third quarter Earnings per Share ("EPS") of $3.65 and Adjusted EPS of $3.85. These results were better than the company's guidance due to stronger close-in demand and further strength in onboard revenue. The company is also increasing its full year 2023 Adjusted EPS guidance to $6.58 – $6.63, driven by strong demand and continued strength in onboard revenue.

"The strength of our brands and the acceleration of consumer spending on experiences have propelled us towards another outstanding quarter and a robust 2023," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Looking ahead, we see accelerating demand as we build the business for 2024. Our booked load factors are higher than all prior years and at higher rates, further supporting our trajectory towards the Trifecta goals," added Liberty. "The combination of our leading brands, the best people, and the most innovative fleet and destinations, positions us exceptionally well to deliver on a lifetime of vacation experiences while creating long-term shareholder value."

Third Quarter 2023 Results:

• Gross Margin Yields increased 19.1% As-Reported, and Net Yields increased 16.7% in Constant-Currency (16.9% As-Reported), both compared to the third quarter of 2019.

• Gross Cruise Costs per Available Passenger Cruise Day ("APCD") increased 14.4% As-Reported, and Net Cruise Costs ("NCC"), excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 10.3% in Constant-Currency (10.1% As-Reported), both compared to the third quarter of 2019.

• Total revenues were $4.2 billion, Net Income was $1.0 billion or $3.65 per share, Adjusted Net Income was $1.1 billion or $3.85 per share, Adjusted EBITDA was $1.7 billion.

Full Year 2023 Outlook:

• Net Yields are expected to increase 12.9% to 13.4% in Constant-Currency (12.4% to 12.9% As-Reported), compared to 2019.

• NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD is expected to be up 7.0% to 7.5% in Constant-Currency (6.5% to 7.0% As-Reported), compared to 2019, and includes approximately 30 basis points impact due primarily to reduced APCDs on cancelled Israel and related sailings.

• Fuel pricing and foreign exchange rates are negatively impacting EPS by $0.18, compared to prior guidance. In addition, impacted sailings related to Israel deployment is expected to impact the year by approximately $0.03.

• Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $6.58 to $6.63 per share.

Third Quarter 2023

Royal Caribbean said that it reported Net Income for the third quarter of $1.0 billion or $3.65 per share compared to Net Income of $33.0 million or $0.13 per share for the same period in the prior year. The company also reported Adjusted Net Income of $1.1 billion or $3.85 per share for the third quarter compared to Adjusted Net Income of $65.8 million or $0.26 per share for the same period in the prior year.

Gross Margin Yields increased 19.1% As-Reported, and Net Yields increased 16.7% in Constant-Currency (16.9% As-Reported) when compared to the third quarter of 2019. Third quarter revenue across North America and Europe itineraries exceeded expectations due to better close-in demand that translated into higher load factors and pricing, as well as continued strength in onboard revenue. Load factor for the third quarter was 110%.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 14.4% As-Reported, compared to 2019. NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD increased 10.1% As-Reported and 10.3% in Constant-Currency, compared to 2019. Lower operating expenses, as well as favorable timing, contributed to better-than-expected costs.

Revenue Environment and 2024 Outlook

Bookings remained strong throughout the third quarter, significantly exceeding 2019 levels. Closer-in demand for 2023 sailings exceeded expectations, contributing to higher load factors at higher prices and higher onboard revenue for the third quarter. Consumer spending onboard, as well as pre-cruise purchases, continue to significantly exceed 2019 levels driven by greater participation at higher prices. As of September 30, 2023, the Group's customer deposit balance was at $5.0 billion.

Demand for 2024 has continued to accelerate, with bookings significantly and consistently outpacing 2019 levels. Booked load factors and rates are higher than all prior years while the booking window has continued to extend. The market response to the company's new ships, existing hardware, and the expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Hideaway Beach, has been excellent and further positions the company for strong yield and earnings growth in 2024.

Fourth Quarter 2023

Net Yields are expected to be up 16.2% to 16.7% in Constant-Currency and 15.0% to 15.5% As-Reported, both compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Continued strong demand for the company's vacation experiences and strength in onboard revenue contributes to increased yield expectations for the fourth quarter.

NCC, excluding Fuel, per APCD for the quarter are expected to increase 3.9% to 4.4% in Constant-Currency and 3.3% to 3.8% As-Reported, both compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Fuel pricing and foreign exchange rates are negatively impacting EPS by $0.15, versus previous expectations. Impacted sailings related to Israel deployment are negatively impacting the quarter by approximately $0.03.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be $1.05 to $1.10 per share.

"The performance of our business continues to accelerate, driven by strong demand and excellent operational execution," said Naftali Holtz, chief financial officer at Royal Caribbean Group. "Our formula of moderate yield growth, strong cost discipline, and moderate growth of our fleet delivers a strong financial profile and enhanced margins."

Fuel Expense

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $668 per metric ton and consumption was 408,000 metric tons.

Royal Caribbean said that it does not forecast fuel prices and its fuel cost calculations are based on current at-the-pump prices, net of hedging impacts. Based on today's fuel prices, the company has included $300 million of fuel expense in its fourth quarter guidance at a forecasted consumption of 413,000 metric tons, which is 54% hedged via swaps. Forecasted consumption is 54%, 60%, 39%, and 3% hedged via swaps for the remainder of 2023, 2024,2025, and 2026, respectively. The annual average cost per metric ton of the hedge portfolio is approximately $576, $509, $479 and $778 for 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. The higher average cost in 2026 is driven by only MGO consumption hedged that year.

Sun Princess Will Mesmerize Guests with New Show-stopping Productions and Favorite Shows
Iconic performances and world-class experiences headline a show-stopping array of incredible entertainment awaiting guests across the sensational new Sun Princess, the largest-ever ship from Princess Cruises debuting in early 2024.

Today the cruise brand announced four exceptional production shows that will take center stage in the Princess Arena, the most technologically advanced entertainment venue at sea. The pinnacle of technological innovation in the world of cruise ship entertainment, the configurable Princess Arena supports shows in the round, in a 270-degree keyhole configuration, as well as via a traditional proscenium theater.

"The Princess Arena is an engineering marvel that allows us to create awe-inspiring entertainment, offering our guests a completely different experience every night," said Denise Saviss, vice president of entertainment experience for Princess Cruises. "Not only will our productions shine, but the venue itself, with its state-of-the-art stages, captivating lighting design, and immersive surround-sound, will deliver show-stopping spectacles on every voyage."

Headlining the entertainment line-up are three completely new productions, showcasing the tremendous talents of the Sun Princess troupe with four lead vocalists, 13 top dancers and eight Dome Cirque artists in various performances, including:

Princess Arena Theater Shows

NEW! Vallora, A Pirate Quest – Created, directed and choreographed by Danny Teeson of "American Idol" fame, Pirates features an upbeat and nostalgic 80's soundtrack, including Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Chicago's "You're the Inspiration" and Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." The show follows the intrepid heroine 'Vallora' through a pirate adventure, telling a thrilling story of searching for what's lost and above all else, family and love.

NEW! Stage Struck – Celebrating musical theater, Stage Struck features "On Broadway" from Smokey Joe's Café, "Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady, "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent and "One Night Only" from Dreamgirls. Directed and choreographed by Karen Bruce, of "So You Think You Can Dance" for BBC and numerous shows on the West End.

NEW! Viva La Música – This scintillating musical experience from famed Latin American choreographer Liz Imperio, the well-known choreographer of concert tours for Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Gloria Estefan, features Latin soundtrack favorites like Miami Sound Machine's "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," Camila Cabello's "Havana," Santana's "Oye Como Va," and Pete Rodriguez's "I Like It Like That." The Latin Grammy inspired concert is highlighted by a dance couple who invite guests to join them on the dance floor for a unique immersive experience.

PRINCESS FAVORITE REIMAGINED! Fiera! – Love blossoms at a turn-of-the-last-century colorful European fairground in a story revealed through an artfully selected medley of popular songs such as Guns & Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine," and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." Directed by famed choreographer Danny Teeson, a large, brilliantly costumed cast of performers brings the story to life, dancing on a vibrant set with a spectacular digital backdrop.

Entertainment extends throughout the ship including two additional prominent venues– the Piazza and The Dome – an iconic new venue at the top forward portion of the ship.

The Dome

The mesmerizing artistry of one of the entertainment industry's biggest names, the renowned Cirque Éloize, will be on full display in The Dome, a remarkable multi-level entertainment venue perched atop the ship.

Three specially-created and captivating shows - "Blue," "Come Fly Away," and "Artbeat" - will transport guests into a world of emotion, color, and music, featuring awe-inspiring acts such as aerial hoops, aerial poles, bungees, Cyr wheel, silks, mind-bending contortions, and more.

Inspired by the enchanting terraces of Santorini, The Dome is a pioneering glass-enclosed structure, the first of its kind ever constructed on a cruise ship. By day, it transforms into an indoor/outdoor oasis with a sparkling pool, while at night, it evolves into an electrifying entertainment venue with a South Beach vibe.

Piazza

The heartbeat of the ship, the Piazza on Sun Princess reflects an exciting evolution, surrounded by a multi-tiered sphere of glass offering expansive views as well as a wide selection of entertainment every voyage. Here guests can continue to enjoy beloved musical acts and performances, as well as favorite game shows and an elevated Champagne Waterfall event.

As with all Princess voyages, Sun Princess guests will be greeted with a NEW Sailaway Party, NEW night-time Welcome Show, a NEW Themed Deck Party, NEW Game Shows and a memorable NEW Farewell Show and Light Spectacle.

Guests sailing Sun Princess also can enjoy Spellbound by Magic Castle, a collaboration with the famed Hollywood icon. The extraordinary experience blends the captivating world of magic with the art of mixology and features incredible feats of magic from talented magicians, surprises in themed rooms and theatrical cocktails delivered by sleight-of-hand servers.

Debuting in February 2024, Sun Princess is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess will also offer an array of exciting new culinary offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories. With the most balconies and sun decks on any Princess ship, guests can take in the sunshine and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean from the comfort of their stateroom.

Quantum of the Seas Returns to Queensland
Australian families can pack their bags, as the ultimate family holiday has arrived. Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas is back in Brisbane for the summer with a line-up of 3- to 9-night holidays to the South Pacific and Queensland’s stunning coast. The homecoming of Queensland’s most innovative getaway follows the arrival of Brilliance of the Seas in Sydney, marking the start of Royal Caribbean’s biggest season ever in Australia, with 30% more holidaymakers and counting ready to set sail.

From the gateway to the idyllic islands of the South Pacific, families, friends and couples can enjoy adventure, relaxation and everything in between while on a weekend getaway or longer holiday on Quantum. Travellers can island hop and explore a variety of destinations that range from local favourites, including Airlie Beach and Cairns, Australia; as well as the welcoming South Pacific locales of Mystery Island and Port Vila, Vanuatu; and Noumea, New Caledonia.

Royal Caribbean’s bumper 2023-2024 season will set new records, and Quantum will be at the top of the list. More than 115,000 holidaymakers have planned to take their summer holidays from Brisbane with the cruise line, a 15% increase from the 2022-2023 summer. More than two-thirds (64%) of these travellers are local Queenslanders while 1 in 10 have flown in from New South Wales (14%) and Victoria (11%), supporting Queensland’s already buoyant tourism economy. With three award-winning Royal Caribbean ships Down Under, including Ovation of the Seas set to arrive in Sydney next week, more than 250,000 guests will get away on the ultimate summer holidays from Australia this summer.

The world’s largest cruise line will also continue to bring locally sourced produce to the table at Quantum’s 20-plus restaurants, bars and lounges as well as those on Brilliance and Ovation. This includes more than 74,800 kilograms of Queensland bananas, 112,000 kilograms of Queensland pineapples, 341,400 kilograms of Australian potatoes as well as a new partnership with Australian-owned Ponting Wines, which serves a range of locally and sustainably sourced wines blends from South Australia and Tasmania.

Gavin Smith, vice president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand, Royal Caribbean International said: “With the highly anticipated return of Quantum of the Seas to Brisbane, Royal Caribbean’s biggest and boldest season in Australia is in full swing. Quantum and its signature line-up of experiences for all ages and types of travellers became a fan favourite right away during its first season in Queensland, and in response to that popularity, now there are 25 itineraries to choose from that vary in length and destinations. This unprecedented response to the idea of the ultimate family holiday is why we’ll see one-third more holidaymakers join us for a summer getaway like no other.”

From one-of-a-kind thrills and entertainment to flavours from around the world, there are endless ways for holidaymakers of all ages to make memories together and on their own adventures while sailing from one idyllic island to the next on Quantum.

Adrenaline-fuelled activities and firsts on board the Queensland favourite include the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator, a rock climbing wall and SeaPlex – the largest indoor activity complex at sea – which features bumper cars, basketball, roller-skating and more. To refuel in between memory-making, there are more than 20 restaurants, bars and lounges to choose from. The tasty line-up includes Chef’s Table, the most exclusive and elevated dining experience on board that serves five courses, and Jamie’s Italian for family-style Tuscan classics. And ways to cap off the day can range from enjoying full-scale productions in the Royal Theatre or at Two70, where robotics, performers and physical scenery create a multisensory experience; and live music in Music Hall, Schooner Bar and more. With so much to see and do on Quantum, holidaymakers can then kick back at the Vitality Spa or find balance with state-of-the-art equipment and panoramic ocean views at the Fitness Center.

Royal Caribbean’s biggest and boldest season has already kicked off with Brilliance’s arrival in Sydney on Sunday Oct. 22. The ship’s debut in Australia marks the start of a six-month season of 20 immersive itineraries visiting 40 sun-soaked and culture-rich destinations, including Fiji, the Loyalty Islands and locales in Australia like Port Douglas, Melbourne and Kangaroo Island.

For a seventh season from the iconic Sydney Harbour, Ovation will complete the trifecta of Australia’s ultimate summer holidays when it returns to Sydney on Friday, Nov. 3. Travellers can get away on 20 3- to 11-night holidays that will visit destinations along New Zealand’s rugged coastline like Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.

Holland America Line Introduces New Caribbean Menu
Fresh, local flavors lead the way for Holland America Line's award-winning cuisine on Caribbean sailings with new regionally themed menus in the Dining Room and Lido Market. Adding to the culinary journey, Caribbean-bound guests can now enjoy a new themed brunch, indulge in local rum tastings, and savor a traditional, pirate-inspired rum punch crafted by renowned mixologist David Wondrich, who also will share his expertise on a March cruise aboard Zaandam.

Offered on sea days, all dishes on the new Caribbean Brunch menu in the Dining Room showcase fresh, local ingredients. Selections range from sweet tropical flavors to savory and include Jamaican Banana Pancakes, Sweet Potato Chowder with chili peppers, Cuban Medianoche Pork and Cheese Sandwich, Jerk Burger with grilled pineapple salsa, Dominican Fried Chicken with beans and rice, and Florida Key Mahi-Mahi Sandwich with grilled pineapple.

"The rich flavors of the Caribbean add a new dimension to our guests' dining experience with an immersion into the region's culinary heritage — from fresh Puerto Rican tostones made from local plantains to a variety of tropical fruits and spices," said Michael Stendebach, vice president of food, beverage and guest services at Holland America Line. "Even traditional Holland America Line favorites, like our bread pudding and crepe bar, will embrace Caribbean flavors with new variations in Lido Market."

Local Flavors on Display in the Dining Room

The Dining Room features a range of new dishes showcasing island staples and favorites on all Caribbean cruises, including:

• Chilly Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail with orange habanero aioli.

• Jerked Pork Tenderloin with peanuts, rice pilaf and black beans.

• Mahi Mahi Diablo with cilantro rice and guajillo chilies.

• Spiced Pork Belly with pineapple, salsa, roasted squash and sweet potatoes.

• Corn and Salt Fish Fritter with garlic aioli.

• Chicken and Callaloo Soup with butternut squash, garlic, thyme and toasted coconut.

• Steamed Stone Crabs served chilled with a Dijon aioli dipping sauce (supplemental charge).

• Taste the Caribbean Islands in Lido Market

During Caribbean sailings, the casual Lido Market features regional favorites like Puerto Rican Tostones. Made fresh daily with plantain chips, Puerto Rican Tostones are served open-faced for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Topping selections range from tropical fruit for breakfast to pulled pork, garlic shrimp or vegetarian for dinner.

The Lido Market's popular crepe bar features regional fruits and toppings with a buttered rum sauce. Lido dinner options include Caribbean Lamb Curry, Caribbean Roasted Pork Sandwich, Jerk Lamb Shank, Braised Brisket Criollo, Frita Cubana, Jamaican Garlic Shrimp, Jamaican Braised Oxtail, Rockfish Cou-Cou, and a selection of regional island hot sauces.

Caribbean Bread Pudding

Holland America Line's bread pudding is a longtime favorite and the most requested recipe by guests. While traditional bread pudding originated in Europe, it also has strong ties to the Caribbean where early settlers used local flavors to create their own, unique bread puddings. To honor this fusion of flavors, Caribbean sailings feature new bread puddings, including Jamaican Bread Pudding, Chocolate Hazelnut Bread Pudding, Caribbean Bread Pudding, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Coconut Bread Pudding, Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding and Blueberry Croissant Pudding -- all served with a warm rum vanilla sauce.

Pirate History Meets Modern Mixology

While the original Caribbean pirates didn't have the luxury of today's premium cruise ships, modern guests can indulge in a concoction inspired by their seafaring traditions. Crafted by David Wondrich, a James Beard award-winning drinks historian, the new 18th Century Pirate Punch draws inspiration from the rum punch shared by pirates. It features pot-stilled Jamaican rum, a dash or Orange Curaçao, various citrus juices and a traditional sprinkling of fresh-grated nutmeg.

In addition to the punch, guests can indulge in a unique rum tasting that samples premium rum from distilleries in the region. Highlights of the rum tasting include:

Bacardi 8 — Aged for a minimum of eight years, this smooth, rich rum has a complex flavor profile with hints of vanilla, caramel and oak. Pussers Admiralty — A British Navy-style rum that boasts a full-bodied flavor profile with hints of brown sugar, toffee and exotic spices. Pryrat XO — Aged up to 15 years in French Limousine oak barrels for a deep amber hue and velvety texture, flavored with caramel, honey and tropical fruits, complemented by subtle notes of spice and vanilla. Brugal 1888 — Aged in ex-bourbon barrels from the Dominican Republic and finished in ex-sherry casks, resulting in a refined and complex flavor profile with notes of chocolate, dried fruits and oak. Mount Gay Eclipse — A medium-bodied rum with subtle notes of ripe banana, vanilla and almond.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 11.40 - 2.40%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 85.86 + 4.01%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 13.52 - 4.45%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - This picture was taken in September of 1963. The ship passing behind our ship is pretty easy to recognize, but can you name the ship from which the photo was taken? Look closely, there are clues...


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner is credited with starting the Art Deco movement at sea and what year did she enter service?

Answer - The liner which started it all was Transat's Ile-de-France of 1927......and what a beauty she was!!!!! courtesy of D. Heiningn


Cruise News - October 23, 2023

Carnival Freedom Returns To Service With New Look – And New Funnel
Once again sporting an iconic winged funnel, Carnival Freedom marked its return to service by welcoming guests on board in Barcelona, Spain for a 14-day transatlantic voyage to its homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship underwent an extensive refurbishment that included the installation of the new funnel, the addition of the signature Carnival red, white and blue hull livery and other enhancements.

Earlier this month, the 2,980-guest ship entered its 16-day dry dock at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain. The ship’s vibrant transformation is a significant milestone for the shipyard. While the yard’s team members have worked on other projects across the fleet, this is the first time they have designed and manufactured a Carnival funnel.

Among the other enhancements is a newly installed Heroes Tribute Bar, which is an expanding venue across the Carnival fleet and honors military veterans and active-duty service members. Carnival Freedom now also features a Dreams Studio, where guests can capture memories that become keepsakes from their cruise with the help of Carnival’s photography staff. Some of the other work includes an expansion to the ship’s casino, and renovations and upgrades across the ship’s staterooms and public areas.

Carnival Freedom’s two-week-long transatlantic Carnival Journeys cruise from Spain is offering guests an unforgettable journey that includes visits to Valencia, Malaga and Las Palmas, Spain as well as Bermuda. From Port Canaveral, the ship offers four- and five-day sailings to destinations in The Bahamas, such as Nassau and Princess Cays, as well as other Caribbean destinations, including Grand Turk. Many new itineraries were recently opened for the ship, and among them are sailings that feature Carnival’s upcoming exclusive destination, Celebration Key, as a port of call beginning in 2025.

Norwegian Cruise Line Returns to Asia for the First Time in Three Years
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today celebrates its long-awaited return to Asia as Norwegian Jewel set sail from Tokyo and commenced its extensive six-month season of voyages in the region.

As the first ship in the NCL fleet to return to Asia in over three years, Norwegian Jewel will offer 16 immersive and port-rich itineraries, visiting 11 countries and sailing from nine different departure ports, including Bangkok (Laem Chabang) Thailand; Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) Malaysia; Singapore; Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan; Bali (Benoa), Indonesia; Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan; and for the first time in NCL history Seoul (Incheon), South Korea.

Cruises range in length from 10 to14 days with an average of less than two sea days per sailing, inviting guests to enjoy up to 13.5 hours in iconic destinations like Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as extended overnight stays in places that come alive at night, such as Phuket, Thailand; Osaka, Japan; and Bali (Benoa), Indonesia. The brand will also make its first calls to Manila, Boracay, Palawan and Salomague, Philippines; Bintan Island, Indonesia; and Hualien, Taiwan.

“Today is a milestone moment, as we return to Asia with Norwegian Jewel’s arrival to Tokyo,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We pride ourselves in delivering the best vacation experience and providing endless opportunities for our guests to explore the world…including Asia! This region delivers some of the most intriguing history, cuisine, and culture for travelers to discover, and we are thrilled to deliver a diverse selection of port-rich voyages. This market is important to us, and we are committed to servicing it in the long term.”

Firmly underlying the brand’s commitment to Asia, both as a source market and destination, NCL will have a record four ships deployed in the region during the 2024/25 season, providing travelers with unrivalled choice. In addition to Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Spirit, Sun and Sky will also visit the area’s most diverse ports, offering guests the opportunity to explore iconic and less discovered destinations including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Norwegian Sun Debuts in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and Asia

Making its premiere, Norwegian Sun will offer a six-month Asia Pacific season, including 13 exotic itineraries from October 2024 to April 2025, four of which have never been offered before, including three departures from Melbourne, Australia and an Auckland, New Zealand to Bali, Indonesia sailing in March 2025. Departure ports include Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Honolulu; and Papeete, French Polynesia with itineraries showcasing the sublime scenery of each bucket-list worthy destination.

Norwegian Spirit Returns to Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and Asia

After an incredibly successful maiden season, Norwegian Spirit will return to Australian and New Zealand waters for its second consecutive season from December 2023 through March 2024 for a series of popular open-jaw sailings between Sydney and Auckland. It will then sail a number of repositioning cruises in the South Pacific, before returning to the region for a series of 14 Asia voyages during an eight-month season from September 2024 to April 2025, departing from Manila, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul.

Norwegian Sky Sails a Series of Exotic Itineraries in Asia, Asia Pacific and Africa

Norwegian Sky’s four-month Asian season features seven sailings departing from Manila, Philippines; Singapore; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo; and Port Louis, Mauritius between December 2024 and March 2025. Sailings range from 10 to 17 days and include several country-immersive voyages for a deeper discovery of fascinating destinations such as the Philippines and Japan.

For guests looking to fully immerse themselves in the destination, select sailings can also be combined with a three night/four day land exploration with one of NCL’s Cruise Tours in Tokyo, Taipei and Singapore.

Cunard Celebrates Six-Month to Debut of New Ship Queen Anne with spectacular New York event
On October 18, 2023, Cunard introduced elements of their newest ship, Queen Anne, to New York with a celebratory event at the company's former New York offices 25 Broadway – now Cipriani 25 Broadway. Unveiling art by contemporary artists that will appear on board and spotlighting a new entertainment venue, the iconic cruise brand provided guests with an immersive introduction to this new vessel, their first in 13 years.

Alan Cumming dazzled the audience by performing with a cabaret-style set, bringing the new intimate entertainment venue Bright Lights Society to life. The name Bright Lights Society speaks to Cunard's heritage, as theirs was the first ocean liner to use electric lights. Alan will be sailing as part of Cunard's onboard Insights program on Queen Mary 2's December 8th Crossing.

Another highlight of the evening was a contemporary art exhibit displaying new pieces for the ship which will have the largest curated art collection at sea. Created by up-and-coming and established artists, the display is part of the 4,300-piece collection onboard Queen Anne. Artists included photographer Michael James O'Brien, Canadian artist Eric Louie, Brooklyn textile artist Shradha Kochhar, and London-based artist Tommy Camerno.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "This evening is a full circle moment for the company as we come together at this historic, magnificent building, which bridges Cunard's 183-year historic legacy with the modern era of ocean travel. Our new ship, Queen Anne, will pay homage to her royal namesake, renowned for her dedication to the arts and innovative spirit; as such, the ship will usher in a new era for Cunard as we introduce new experiences for our guests, complementing our signature, timeless style."

Queen Anne will launch into service in May 2024. The 113,000-ton vessel will have 14 decks and 15 dining venues, holding up to 3,000 guests. In her maiden season, Queen Anne will be sailing in Europe with itineraries including the Canary Islands, British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, Western Mediterranean, and more.

Discovery Princess to Call Sydney Home for the 2025/26 Australian Summer Season
Princess Cruises yesterday announced that its current flagship vessel – Discovery Princess – will make Sydney its home port in the 2025/26 summer Australia season.

Built in 2022, the 145,000-ton ship measuring 330 metres in length, and 19 decks high will be the biggest ship Princess Cruises has ever homeported in Australia in its 50-year history of cruising down under. The 3,660-guest, ship will debut in her home port of Sydney in October 2025, offering a number of itineraries from Australia.

Princess Cruises’ President John Padgett in Sydney yesterday to officially welcome Royal Princess on her debut summer season in Australia shared the news in an early reveal of the line’s 2025/26 program.

“Nearly half a century has passed since Princess Cruises introduced the Pacific Princess ship to Sydney’s shores. In commemoration of this milestone, we are delighted to unveil the future deployment of the Discovery Princess today, further solidifying our belief in the Australian market,” said Padgett. “We are confident that both our international and Australian guests will be excited about the spectacular experience aboard Discovery Princess as she sails from Sydney in late 2025."

Discovery Princess, the third vessel designed from the ground up with Princess MedallionClass and the sixth Royal-Class ship to be built shares all the spectacular style and luxury of her sister ships – Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess, Majestic Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess. With an array of spectacular features, guests will enjoy 270-degree sweeping views from the largest balconies in the Princess fleet with the Sky Suites, unwind in the ultimate comfort at the Sanctuary and indulge the senses with world-class dining options including new to Australia 360: An Extraordinary Experience now available for all guests sailing on Discovery Princess. The Award-winning 360: An Extraordinary Experience is exclusively offered on Discovery Princess and Enchanted Princess taking guests on a sensory journey through world-class cuisine with a fusion of master story-telling and visual entertainment.

In addition, Discovery Princess elevates the guest experience with an abundance of amenities including 14 restaurants, 10 bars and additional lounges, and entertainment options. Among its dining options is The Catch by Rudi, Crown Grill, Sabatini’s Trattoria and Gigi’s Pizzeria. Other features include the SeaWalk, a breathtaking glass-bottomed enclosed walkway that extends nearly 9 metres beyond the ship's edge, treating guests to awe-inspiring views while suspended 39 metres above the sea.

Other notable features include private poolside cabanas, four main pools including two top deck pools, Retreat Pool and Wakeview Pool, 10 hot Tub spas, the Enclave and Lotus Spa featuring Princess’ largest-ever thermal suite, and an exquisite Chef’s Table Lumiere dining option, where guests are magically surrounded by a curtain of light. Meanwhile, more than 82 per cent of the ship’s staterooms offer a private balcony.

In addition to the incredible amenities aboard Discovery Princess, guests also enjoy the Princess exclusive MedallionClass experience, offering a level of service personalisation previously only available on small ships now delivered on a large ship, amenity-rich platform.

The connected guest experience maximises guests’ time by delivering a host of onboard conveniences including contactless payment for anything on board; expedited embarkation; keyless stateroom entry; muster anywhere; friends and family locator; and ordering food, drinks, retail items or requesting service from their smart device or a crew member and having their order delivered directly to them…even if they move.

Padgett added the cruise line is thrilled to announce the addition of Discovery Princess to its Australian fleet for the 2025/26 summer season. The ship will sail in local waters with other Princess ships Crown Princess and Grand Princess as part of the summer program to be revealed in full next month including the longest World Cruise yet.

“Discovery Princess will continue to set new standards for premium cruising when she sails from Australia in the 2025/26 summer season. She’s an incredible ship with many wonderful features for our guests, from superb cuisine to world-class entertainment and facilities.”

Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas Arrives in Sydney
A new summer of new adventures in Australia is here. Marking the start of Royal Caribbean International’s biggest line-up of 2023-2024 holidays Down Under, the cruise line’s Brilliance of the Seas has arrived in Sydney for the first time. The new holiday begins a six-month season of 5- to 18-night cruises to unique and idyllic destinations, from Fiji and the Loyalty Islands to locales in Australia like Port Douglas, Melbourne and Kangaroo Island.

Holidaymakers can have their pick of 20 different immersive itineraries and 40 sun-soaked and culture-rich destinations this summer with Brilliance, where they will enjoy a more intimate experience as they go from one spectacular place to the next. In store are destinations in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific that range from Port Douglas, Melbourne, Newcastle, Kangaroo Island and Gladstone, Australia; to Lifou, Loyalty Islands; Denarau and Suva, Fiji; plus Luganville, Vanuatu. Friends and families can also take exploration to the next level on 16- and 18-night holidays to even more far-flung destinations along Australia’s Top End and West Coast, as well as the New Zealand Sounds. What’s more, the two holidays can be combined to enjoy an epic 34-night Australia and New Zealand adventure.

Gavin Smith, vice president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand, Royal Caribbean International, said: “The start of Royal Caribbean’s Australian biggest summer season is officially here with the arrival of the intimate and unforgettable Brilliance of the Seas in Sydney. With such destination-rich holidays as well as the variety of dining, entertainment, ways to relax and more on board, Brilliance is a spectacular new way to explore top destinations in style and in great company with everyone in the family and group of friends. This is just the beginning of a bold summer as we look forward to a bumper season packed with three ships delivering the best family holiday experiences from Australia.”

With Brilliance’s striking 10-deck-high windows and ocean-facing glass elevators, travellers can take in breathtaking views as they sail to each destination and make memories across a variety of dining, entertainment, nightlife and more. The experiences for all ages on board vary from scaling Royal Caribbean’s signature rock climbing wall overlooking the ocean and playing mini golf with the family to sipping drinks with friends at the rotating Starquest bar with 180-degree views or the popular Vintages wine bar. Dining options are aplenty, including the family-style Italian trattoria, Giovanni’s Table, fresh sushi at Izumi and the intimate and exclusive multi-course Chef’s Table. When it comes to kicking back and recharging the mind, body and soul, there’s a full-service Vitality Spa, with everything from facials and bamboo massages to manicures and a salon.

Royal Caribbean has even more celebrations in the pipeline for holidaymakers. After an unforgettable debut in Queensland last year, Quantum of the Seas will return on Saturday, Oct. 28, with 3- to 9-night holidays that offer the best family getaway from Brisbane to the picturesque islands of the South Pacific and the Queensland coast. The popular Ovation of the Seas is back in Australia’s iconic Sydney Harbour on Friday, Nov. 3, with a mix of 3- to 12-night getaways around Australia’s East Coast, the South Pacific and New Zealand’s rugged coastline for its seventh season in the region.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 11.68 - 5.50%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 82.55 - 4.79%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 14.15 - 5.41%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner is credited with starting the Art Deco movement at sea and what year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
When Carnival's 46,052 ton Holiday was built in 1985 she set the record as the largest cruise ship built in that particular country. In what country was she built? Bonus: Name the shipyard?

Answer - The MS Holiday set the record for the largest ship build in Denmark at Aalborg Vaerft. courtesy of Byron Clayton, Singapore


Cruise News - October 16, 2023

Rhapsody of the Seas Helps Evacuate Americans from Israel
Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas helped evacuate Americans from Israel on Monday amid the vilonce that errupted this past weeke in Israel and Gaza.

Royal Caribbean had already cancelled Rhapsody of the Seas scheduled cruise from Haifa and when contacted by the U.S. Embassy in Israel, the cruise line agreed to re-deploy the ship to offer Americans the chance to depart from Haifa en route to Cyprus on a first-come, first-serve basis.

According to the New York Post, "thousands" raced to make the boarding call, which began at 8 a.m. local time. There were no immediate reports on the number of people evacuated, but the ship can carry about 2,500 people when fully loaded.

"Royal Caribbean Group is actively supporting the U.S. Department of State in the assisted departure of American citizens," Royal Caribbean said in a statement to UPI.

The State Department said about 500,000 American citizens live in Israel.

Royal Caribbean Reveals Name of Next Icon Class Ship
Drum roll, please: The next revolutionary vacation is on the horizon, and its name is Star of the Seas. Just shy of 100 days until the introduction of the first-of-its-kind combination of every vacation with the first in the Icon Class lineup, Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International has revealed the name of the next Icon Class ship and its debut season – the summer of 2025.

The world’s largest cruise line will follow up Icon’s debut, the start of a new era of vacations, in the boldest way. With the combination of every kind of vacation that’s unique to Icon Class – from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure – the lineup of new experiences and favorites on Star will set the stage for even more ways for every type of family and adventurer to make memories without compromise. Currently under construction in Turku, Finland, the new ship and its features will soon be revealed.

“The idea of combining the best of every type of vacation into one ultimate adventure has created more excitement than ever anticipated, and Star of the Seas will be the next bold answer to the record-breaking consumer demand we’ve seen for nearly a year and counting with Icon of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

The first look at Icon* and Icon Class set the tone in October 2022 when it led to the cruise line’s single largest booking day and highest volume booking week in the brand’s then 53-year history. The unprecedented consumer demand sparked Royal Caribbean to release 2025-2026 vacations on Icon three months ahead of schedule and now Star’s name and debut season. Icon’s highlights include six record-breaking waterslides at Thrill Island’s Category 6 waterpark, seven pools – one for every day of the week; Surfside, a stay-all-day neighborhood for young families; entertainment across air, ice, water and stage; 40-plus ways to dine and drink; and more.

Star will also mark another step in this new era as the cruise line’s third ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), combining the use of the cleanest-burning marine fuel available to date with a proven lineup of industry-leading environmental programs on board. With applications ranging from waste heat recovery systems to shore power connection, Royal Caribbean’s most sustainable ship will advance parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s journey to introducing a net-zero cruise ship by 2035.

Carnival Cruise Line Opens New Sailings for Europe and Additional Cruises Visiting Celebration Key
Carnival Cruise Line announced new deployment plans today, including that Carnival Miracle will offer cruises in Europe in the summer of 2025 and that more cruises are opening for 2025-26 from Miami, Tampa, Port Canaveral, and New Orleans. An additional 100 cruises with calls to Carnival’s new exclusive destination Celebration Key are being unveiled amid the new itineraries. All the latest additions to Carnival’s sailing schedule are now open to the public, and full details on every itinerary currently open for sale can be found on Carnival.com.

Carnival Miracle Bringing Fun to European Cruises in Summer 2025

In Europe, Carnival Miracle will sail 16 cruises in summer 2025. The 2,124-guest ship will depart from three homeports across Europe: Lisbon, Portugal; Dover (London), U.K. and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. The ship’s first cruise of the season departs Lisbon for Dover, with visits to La Coruna and Bibao, Spain as well as Le Verdon (Bordeaux) and Le Havre (Paris), France.

From Dover, nine sailings are now open, with nine-, 12- and 15-day itineraries available. Spectacular destinations span several regions across Europe, including the British Isles – with ports of call that include Belfast in Northern Ireland and Liverpool in England. Some sailings highlight destinations in Spain, Portugal and France, and others visit ports of call in Iceland, such as Reykjavik, as well as destinations in Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea including Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Copenhagen, Denmark and Helsinki, Finland. Carnival Miracle will also offer a unique 15-day repositioning itinerary from Dover to Civitavecchia visiting popular destinations across France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Several cruises departing Civitavecchia visit port cities in Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Cruises of eight to 14 days are available. Ports of call from Civitavecchia include Istanbul and Kusadasi (Ephesus) in Turkey; Piraeus (Athens) and Mykonos in Greece and Naples, Italy and Messina on the island of Sicily. The ship’s final cruise from Europe in 2025 will be a 14-day Carnival Journeys voyage from Civitavecchia to Tampa, Fla., with visits to Cartagena, Spain; Ponta Delgada, Azores and Nassau, The Bahamas.

After the ship’s series in Europe, Carnival Miracle will reposition to Tampa and will homeport there for six-, seven- and eight-day cruises in late 2025 and 2026. Destinations across the various itineraries now open from Tampa include Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; Belize; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Colon, Panama; Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico and many more.

New Sailings from U.S. Homeports Include Itineraries Featuring Celebration Key

Carnival’s upcoming exclusive destination, which is set to open in the summer of 2025, will be a major feature of many 2025-26 sailings that opened for sale today. Adding 100 more sailings with visits there brings the total number of available itineraries featuring Celebration Key to 500. Now, Celebration Key is set to welcome 18 Carnival ships sailing from nine U.S. homeports.

The Port of Tampa is the latest Carnival homeport to add sailings that feature visits to Celebration Key. In 2025, Carnival Paradise will sail four- to six-day cruises, with select sailings visiting the new destination along with other popular ports of call that include Nassau and Bimini as well as Cozumel and Mahogany Bay.

At PortMiami, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sunrise will offer cruises of various lengths, from long weekend getaways to week-long sailings across the Caribbean. Several of these itineraries include visits to Celebration Key. Among the other destinations available are Grand Cayman; Montego Bay; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Belize; Cozumel; Mahogany Bay; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, Bahamas.

Carnival Vista will feature many visits to Celebration Key amid her six- and eight-day alternating cruise schedule from Port Canaveral. The ship’s Eastern Caribbean sailings also visit destinations such as Amber Cove and Half Moon Cay, as well as calls to St. Thomas and San Juan, while Southern Caribbean sailings feature exotic Aruba and Bonaire. Select sailings during Carnival Venezia’s seasonal schedule from Port Canaveral also include visits to Celebration Key and other popular Caribbean destinations.

Carnival Venezia will also sail three special 14-day Carnival Journeys cruises from Central Florida. Two of the special cruises visit St. Thomas; Antigua; St. Lucia; Grenada; Barbados; the British Virgin Islands and San Juan. Another 14-day journey sails to the Panama Canal with visits to Grand Turk; Aruba; Curacao; Colon, Panama; Limon, Costa Rica; Montego Bay and Grand Cayman.

Carnival has also opened new sailings on Carnival Valor from another top homeport: New Orleans. The ship will sail four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans visiting popular destinations such as Cozumel and Costa Maya as well as Progreso (Yucatan), Mexico. A selection of longer sailings includes six- and seven-day cruises, along with two special Carnival Journeys cruises that will sail across the Atlantic Ocean. A 16-day sailing from New Orleans to Barcelona in April 2025 features several beautiful destinations in Portugal and Spain, as does a 15-day sailing from Barcelona to New Orleans in June 2025.

Holland America Line Completes Shore Power Connectivity Installation Across Fleet
With the completion of shore power installation on Volendam, Holland America Line’s entire fleet is now shore power-capable. Volendam completed installation in Vancouver, British Columbia, and connected to the port’s shoreside electricity for the first full day on Sept. 27.

The cruise line began converting ships to have shore power connectivity in 2006 with its four Vista Class ships; its Pinnacle Class ships (Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam and Rotterdam) all were built with shore power systems installed, and the Signature Class ships (Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam) were launched with a partial installation that has since been completed. As a part of its sustainability initiatives, Holland America Line uses shore power, also referred to as cold ironing, to reduce emissions and noise in port. Shore power works by plugging the ship into a dockside source, and the power source enables the ship to run all electrical equipment on board without using the ship’s engines. Holland America Line can connect in more than 18 ports worldwide, with more than 25 additional ports actively constructing shore power facilities or investigating the option to do so.

“At Holland America Line, our legacy of exceptional on-board care extends to caring for the planet, and having our entire fleet capable of shore power connection is a tremendous milestone in our sustainability efforts,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “We have committed to reducing our carbon emission intensity 20% by 2026 from our 2019 baseline, and we’re on our way to reaching that goal through a variety of initiatives that include shore power. We look forward to more global ports embracing shore power capability in the future and are ready to work with them to connect.”

Ports that Holland America Line ships visit with shore power include Juneau, Alaska; New York; San Francisco and San Diego, California; Seattle, Washington; Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver, Canada; Bergen, Ålesund and Kristiansand, Norway; Kiel, Germany; and Shanghai and Xiamen, China. In 2024, the port of Rotterdam is expected to be shore-power ready, allowing Holland America Line ships to connect in another of its major ports.

In addition to shore power, Holland America Line demonstrates its commitment to responsible environmental practices through a comprehensive fleetwide program that emphasizes waste reduction and recycling, compliance with all international environmental guidelines and lower-emission propulsion technology.

Holland America Line initiated efforts to significantly reduce non-essential single-use items, and single-use plastics are not permitted on board. The company no longer uses plastic soda or water bottles, stir sticks, straws and bags, along with single-use food packets such as ketchup, mustard and salt. Recyclable glass and aluminum containers are the choice for water and soda pop. Plastic straws have been replaced with biodegradable straws, and plastic hot- and cold-beverage cups have been replaced with plant- or paper-based options. “We’ve made our packaging changes in a thoughtful manner to ensure that we can both reduce our footprint and also maintain our outstanding guest experience,” added Antorcha. To reduce food loss and waste, Holland America Line installed biodigesters that use oxygen, water and microorganisms to break down and liquify uneaten food to be sustainably released back to nature. This process helps to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions created by the ocean’s natural food decomposition processes. Food waste dehydrators offer an alternate method of food waste processing that has the potential to reduce waste volume by about 90%. Dehydrators will be installed fleet wide on Holland America Line by the end of 2023 to reduce the overall volume of organic waste.

Princess Cruises Announces Partnership with World's Most Famous Butcher
A shared passion for tradition, tastes and a love of celebration underscores a new exclusive partnership between Princess Cruises and the world's most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini. This collaboration introduces a new specialty impromptu bistro, The Butcher's Block by Dario, onboard the next-generation Sun Princess, debuting in February 2024.

Passed down eight generations from father to son, and with more than 48 years of experience, Cecchini is recognized around the world for his butcher shop and restaurants located in the Tuscan village of Panzano, Italy. Featured on Netflix's popular "Chef's Table," Cecchini is known for taking care and responsibility for the animals and bringing respect back to butchering by using all the cuts of meat, featuring his grandmother's recipes that he fell in love with as a boy.

The Butcher's Block by Dario, located on deck 9 of the new Sun Princess, comes to life as a specialty impromptu experience featuring a large shared, family-style table serving up a carnivore's paradise. This specialty dining experience promises to grill up perfectly prepared beef and steak, including Cecchini's signature cuts.

In addition, the cruise line's signature steakhouse, Crown Grill, will feature a refined upscale menu designed by Cecchini. The menu proudly features the highly coveted "Bistecca Alla Fiorentina," a distinctive Florentine Steak prepared with the bone, sourced directly from the prestigious Antica Macelleria Cecchini butcher shop in Panzano.

"Princess' culinary offerings embody a rich Italian heritage, uniting a shared passion for family recipes, vibrant social dining, and a love of celebrating each day of life," expressed Cecchini. "My life as an artesian butcher holds deep significance because I hold profound respect for the gift of the animal and ensure that shines through when guests enjoy my new restaurant and delectable menus sailing the world on the beautiful Sun Princess."

In addition to The Butcher's Block by Dario and Crown Grill elevating the culinary offerings on Sun Princess, previously announced specialty restaurants include Kai Sushi, a modern sushi bar; Sabatini's Italian Trattoria, a Princess favorite serving up fresh-made Italian pastas and unique courses; Umai Teppanyaki, another Sun Princess exclusive offering a fusion of teppan cuisine and showmanship; and The Catch by Rudi, from renowned Chef Rudi Sodamin featuring treasures from the sea.

"Princess is dedicated to creating the finest experiences for guests spanning all cultures, tastes and preferences," said John Padgett President Princess, "from fine dining to casual and from indulgent to healthy, guests will love what the Sun Princess is bring to the table."

Throughout Sun Princess, guests will be treated to 29 new and signature dining and lounge options, offering savory journeys, entertaining eats, sumptuous sips and satisfying snacks. Also new for Sun Princess is Horizons, the three-story, main dining room elevating the traditional main dining experience with stunning wake views, natural light, art sculptures and memorable meals from friendly waitstaff.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the 175,500-ton, 4,300-guest Sun Princess will also offer an array of exciting new entertainment and activity offerings, as well as luxurious staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 12.36 - 2.60%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 86.70 - 1.73%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 14.96 - 10.15%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When Carnival's 46,052 ton Holiday was built in 1985 she set the record as the largest cruise ship built in that particular country. In what country was she built? Bonus: Name the shipyard?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Holland Ameica Line established its training center in Indonesia in 1969. courtesy of Larry P. McDonald


Cruise News - October 9, 2023

Carnival Freedom Will Soon Sport Iconic Carnival Funnel Once Again
It’s the Fun Ship emblem – the crown seen atop most of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, and now Carnival Freedom will once again be outfitted with the iconic winged funnel design she was built to carry. The replacement funnel, which is being constructed now, is one of several improvements planned for the ship.

The ship's original funnel was damaged in a fire in May 2022 fire. No passengers or crew were injured in the fire, which was quickly extinguished, but caused extensive damage to a portion of the funnel.

The 2,980-guest Carnival Freedom begins a 16-day dry dock refurbishment project today at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain. The work to construct the new funnel is already well underway, marking the first time this shipyard has designed and manufactured a Carnival funnel.

In addition to the funnel’s replacement, several other refurbishments are also planned for the ship’s exterior, including the installation of new decking and the addition of the now-signature Carnival red, white and blue hull design that is a feature of most of the ships in the fleet. A Heroes Tribute Bar, which serves as a salute to veterans and active-duty service members, will be added along with other enhancements.

More details will be shared about the enhancements made to Carnival Freedom once the work at the shipyard is completed.

Carnival Adds More Variety in Cruise Options from the West Coast
Carnival Cruise Line this week announced future sailings from Long Beach, Calif. on Carnival Panorama, Carnival Radiance and Carnival Firenze are now available. The newly announced offerings include six- and eight-day itineraries on Carnival Panorama from May 2025 through April 2026 and feature a wider variety of options and destinations from Long Beach including Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, La Paz and Ensenada. The new sailings can be seen here on Carnival.com.

“Long Beach is one of our top homeports, and now with the upcoming addition of Carnival Firenze, joining Carnival Panorama and Carnival Radiance in Long Beach, we’re able to further diversify our offering, welcome more guests aboard and give them more options from the West Coast,” said Fred Stein, Carnival’s vice president of revenue planning and deployment.

The new sailings feature a wide range of itineraries that visit the Mexican Riviera and Baja Mexico. The following is a sampling of what each ship will offer beginning in May 2025:

Carnival Firenze

Carnival Firenze will offer four-day cruises visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico as well as five-day Mexican Riviera cruises calling in Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. These cruises are now open for sale between the spring and fall months of 2025.

Carnival Firenze, named after the city of Florence, Italy, will join the fleet sailing from Long Beach in May 2024 as the second ship to showcase Carnival Fun Italian Style experiences, which debuted earlier this year with the arrival of Carnival Venezia sailing from New York. Carnival’s signature fun, friendly crew and many familiar venues complement several new, creative concepts – including Italian-themed restaurants, bars and entertainment – and beautiful, unique architectural designs that embody the ship’s namesake.

Carnival Panorama

Carnival Panorama, which currently operates seven-day sailings, will now alternate between six- and eight-day itineraries departing Saturdays and Sundays. These sailings begin in the spring of 2025 and are now open for sale into the spring of 2026. The six-day sailings to Mexico will feature itineraries calling in Ensenada and two days in Cabo San Lucas while the eight-day cruises will sail guests to Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Carnival Radiance

Alternating three- and four-night cruises, nearly 50 new getaways to Ensenada, Mexico are available on Carnival Radiance from the spring to the fall of 2025. The ship’s three-day weekend cruises departing Fridays visit Ensenada while the four-day cruises call in Ensenada and add a stop in Catalina Island.

Cruises to the Mexican Riviera and Baja Mexico offer guests the chance to experience thrilling adventures and relaxing experiences alike, complemented by spectacular natural beauty and rich, immersive culture. Popular shore excursions enjoyed by thousands of guests year-round include a zipline adventure course that offers thrilling rides above the foothills of the Sierra Madre as well as an ATV ride that winds through the breathtaking Guadalupe Valley and its rolling country hills filled with vineyards and olive trees.

Additional 2025-26 itineraries from other Carnival homeports will be announced in the coming weeks.

Oceania Elevates Small Ship Luxury Offering in Alaska for 2025
Oceania Cruises announced the recently re-inspired and better-than-new 1,250-guest Riviera will sail her first season in Alaska in summer 2025. Riviera will offer travelers the most inspiring way to explore some of the world's most breathtaking locales across America's largest state, putting immersion in local communities and culinary excellence at the heart of the travel experience.

Offering the largest standard staterooms at sea and home-away-from-home residential-style luxury, Riviera will venture into iconic Alaska ports of call including Ketchikan, Sitka, Kodiak, and the Hubbard Glacier, sailing itineraries ranging from seven to 12 days. Travelers will have even more opportunities to discover Alaska's natural wonders and unique local culture with nearly 300 excursion choices in Alaska and the brand's value promise simply MORE, which includes a generous shore excursion credit of up to $1,600, in addition to a number of other valuable inclusions – free roundtrip airfare; free airport transfers; free Champagne, wine and more; free gourmet specialty dining and free unlimited WiFi – for the best value in luxury cruising.

"The decision to elevate our presence in the Alaska region was easy," commented Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "This fascinating destination has always been a firm favorite with our well-traveled guests, who are constantly wanting to explore remote, wondrous and truly off-the-beaten-track destinations. Sailing on board Riviera is the ultimate way to explore this rugged state, while enjoying her distinctive residential luxury, The Finest Cuisine at Sea and expertly curated travel experiences."

Stunningly re-inspired in 2022, Riviera offers unparalleled experiences to curious world travelers. Her incredibly spacious standard staterooms measure an astonishing 291 square feet and all categories of staterooms have been beautifully reimagined with luxurious furnishings, thoughtful design touches and expanded showers. With 800 officers and crew for 1,250 guests, service levels are second to none and guests notice the welcoming ambiance at every turn.

Boasting one chef for every 10 guests, travelers can savor sumptuous dishes at seven open-seating gourmet restaurants as they marvel at Alaska's incredible scenery and seascapes. Whether you choose from an array of international and Continental dishes at The Grand Dining Room, the ultimate steakhouse experience at Polo Grill, bold Pan-Asian fare at Red Ginger, masterfully prepared Italian dishes at Toscana, embraceable French cuisine at Jacques, hallmark Chef's Market Dinners and ever-changing menus at Terrace Café or hand-tossed pizzas at the new alfresco pizzeria at Waves Grill, every meal aboard Riviera becomes a memorable culinary experience.

Ultimate Alaska: Experiences Ashore

Riviera's Alaska cruises bring breath-taking wildlife encounters, stunning views and so much more. From Hubbard Glacier – one of about 100,000 glaciers in Alaska – to Dutch Harbour, the town that technically doesn't exist, America's largest state always has a surprise around the corner.

In fact, many may not think of Alaska as a top culinary destination, but among the nearly 300 shore excursions on offer are Oceania Cruises' brand new series of Culinary Discovery Tours designed for Riviera's 2025 season, which spotlights Alaska's unique and thriving food scenes. Offered in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, the immersive chef-led tours take travelers on epicurean adventures ranging from craft beer flight tastings paired with dishes highlighting freshly foraged ingredients to visiting a sustainable oyster farm followed by a hands-on seafood-centric cooking class.

Additional explorations might find guests accompanying a Native Tlingit guide for an enlightening discovery of Ketchikan, observing local artisans and learning about tribal history at the only remaining village of the Chilkat people while in Haines, or venturing into Skagway's free-wheeling gold-rush past to explore local saloons, gravesites and a microbrewery.

Travelers can also discover the natural wonders of the awe-inspiring Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world, famed for its astounding array of mountains, fjords and glaciers or experience the untouched, wildlife-rich surroundings of Klawock, a town of less than 1,000 residents located on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. Guests can further enhance their Alaska journey with a multi-day Denali National Park experience on one of Oceania Cruises' pre- and post-cruise Alaska Land Programs.

49th State Wonders: Onboard Enrichment

The immersion into the wonders of Alaska continues on board. Each sailing features a naturalist on board who offers insightful bridge commentary in addition to a series of guest speaker-style talks that delves into Alaska's incredible biodiversity – covering everything from the unique whales, bears and seals guests may see to the fascinating plant life and local culture. For guests who travel with children, the Alaska Explorer Youth Program offers the opportunity for everyone to experience the excitement of exploring the Northwest Coast and Alaska in a meaningful, enriching way. Designed for children between 5 and 12 years of age, the program is supervised by experienced and enthusiastic youth counselors and includes engaging games, activities and Alaska-inspired special events.

Guests will also have the opportunity to learn the secrets behind much-loved Alaska and Pacific Northwest regional specialties if they wish – multiple hands-on cooking classes at Riviera's state-of-the-art Culinary Center will be offered during each sailing.

Incredible Itineraries

• Alaska Reflections: 8 days from Vancouver to Whittier cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah) and Sitka. Departs May 13, 2025.

• Explorer's Alaska: 8 days from Whittier to Vancouver cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan and Prince Rupert. Departs May 21, 2025.

• Wilds of Alaska: 12 days from Vancouver to Whittier cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Klawock, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Haines, Juneau, Sitka, Kodiak and Homer. Departs May 29, 2025.

• Alaskan Accolades: 7 days from Whittier to Vancouver cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan. Departs June 10, 2025.

• Majestic Alaska: 9 days from Vancouver to Seattle cruising Holkham Bay Glacier Fjords and visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines, Wrangell and Victoria. Departs June 17, 2025.

• Gems of The Last Frontier: 12 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Haines, Sitka, Wrangell, Klawock and Victoria. Departs June 26 and July 17, 2025.

• Wonders of Alaska: 9 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, and Victoria. Departs July 8 and September 9, 2025.

• Radiant Alaska: 10 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Sitka and Victoria. Departs July 29, 2025.

• Frontier Adventures: 10 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Holkham Bay Glacier Fjords and visiting Ketchikan, Sitka, Haines, Juneau, Wrangell and Victoria. Departs August 8, 2025.

• Spirit of Alaska: 10 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Holkham Bay Glacier Fjords and visiting Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Juneau, Skagway, Wrangell and Victoria. Departs August 18, 2025.

• Alaskan Horizons: 12 days from Seattle to Seattle cruising Hubbard Glacier and visiting Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Klawock and Victoria. Departs August 28, 2025.

Riviera, Re-inspired

Riviera has had a sweeping rejuvenation with all suites and staterooms debuting reimagined, lavish residential comfort with custom furnishings, wood finishes and designer accents radiating Oceania Cruises' signature essence of elegance. Some notable highlights of the reimagined vessel include:

• Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms and Veranda Staterooms are the largest standard staterooms afloat at 291 square feet

• All Penthouse Suites and staterooms are beautifully redesigned, bringing a chic, warm and comforting sense of home with sleek restyled bathrooms and novel furnishings

• All stateroom bathrooms feature illustrious Italian marble, bespoke fabrics in suites and staterooms evoke the harmonious tones of painted deserts and tranquil skies, and each shimmers with the modernity of a Milanese townhouse

• Riviera's public spaces have all been elevated with plush new carpets and leather-covered armchairs

• All the convivial lounges and bars, and decadent dining venues have been elegantly restyled, elevating social and epicurean experiences while maintaining the home-away-from-home ambiance

• The Grand Dining Room reflects a renewed sense of grandeur that radiates from the glistening chandelier, plush carpets and butter-soft leather armchairs

• Dining alfresco has been completely revamped with a delightful new pizzeria and trattoria, featuring an array of hand-tossed pizzas, succulently grilled Italian specialties, spicy chicken wings, tantalizing salads and indulgent desserts every evening

Holland America Line Launches Global Fresh Fish Program
Holland America Line is taking its cuisine beyond the plate and further innovating its award-winning dining experience by launching a new, global fresh fish program. The pioneering initiative engages a global network of 60 ports to source and serve 80 types of fresh fish on board in all restaurants, going from port to plate in less than 48 hours.

After becoming the first cruise line to serve 100% fresh, certified sustainable Alaska seafood on board its ships in Alaska, Holland America Line is now taking fresh fish worldwide. Under the new program, the cruise line will offer guests fresh fish and ingredients native to various regions, yielding destination-inspired menus and local specialties that tell the story of each itinerary through cuisine.

“We know fresh fish is part of our guests’ daily lifestyle, and when they come on board, we are excited to expand their options beyond what they have access to at home,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “The ability to source and prepare so many types of fish globally is a testament to our outstanding culinary team. From yellowtail snapper in the Caribbean to barramundi in Australia, the variety of fresh fish we offer is unrivaled in the cruise industry.”

The program also includes daily fresh fish specials and a planned expansion of the cruise line’s “Savor My Catch” excursion where guests can catch fish that is then prepared and served by chefs on board — all with engaging world-renowned Chef Masaharu Morimoto to serve as Holland America Line’s “Fresh Fish Ambassador.” Chef Morimoto brings his signature style to curated dishes served in the ships’ Dining Rooms this fall, as well as in a new pop-up restaurant available fleetwide by early 2024.

Morimoto’s dishes and all seafood dishes served across Holland America Line dining venues will be sourced and prepared as part of the global fresh fish program.

“Embarking on this type of culinary journey at sea is a first for me, and I am excited to bring my passion for fresh fish and fresh ingredients onto Holland America Line’s fleet,” said Chef Morimoto. “I chose to partner with Holland America Line because we share a commitment and passion for fresh and regionally inspired foods, and you will see that come to life in the special dishes and pop-up experience we’ve created together.”

Chef Morimoto’s creations are being crafted for the cruise line’s main Dining Room menus starting this week and will be available for a supplemental charge fleetwide by early October. Menu additions include “Fresh Black Cod Yuzu,” “Morimoto Epice Lobster Tails” and “Fresh Halibut XO.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Chef Morimoto, the foremost expert in this niche,” said Michael Stendebach, vice president of food and beverage at Holland America Line. “We share a commitment to serving the freshest ingredients, fish and seafood, in particular. We are excited to have his refined skills and celebrate his culinary style on board. Chef Morimoto brings his mastery and excellence to Holland America Line and is a great partner to bring this port-to-plate program to life.”

‘Morimoto by Sea’ Pop-Up to be Featured on Every Ship

Beginning in November, Holland America Line guests can indulge in a full Chef Morimoto experience with an exclusive pop-up restaurant: “Morimoto by Sea.” The restaurant and its menu of artfully presented dishes and beverages will take over Tamarind or Pinnacle Grill, depending on the ship, at least once per cruise. Offered to guests for a $55 per person cover charge, the experience will include a multi-course menu, along with vegetarian and vegan selections.

An evening at “Morimoto by Sea” is a multi-course dinner that celebrates the fresh fish program with inspired cuisine for a broad range of palates. “Morimoto by Sea” also showcases Chef Morimoto’s exclusive alcoholic beverages including Morimoto Brut Rosé and Sake Junmai Morimoto that complement his fresh dishes. The pop-up restaurant will be open fleetwide by early 2024.

Cunard Reveals First Glimpse of Queen Anne’s Elevated Wellness Offering
As Cunard Line nears the six-month countdown to the launch of its new ship, the vruise line has given an exclusive preview of Queen Anne’s elevated wellness offering.

The 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest ship is currently under construction at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Venice, Italy and today (5 October) Cunard invited a group of global travel agent partners for its first behind-the-scenes tour.

Queen Anne will boast the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal and spa facilities so far seen on a Cunard ship, with its reimagined Mareel Wellness & Beauty proposition heralding a new era of wellbeing at sea.

Cunard’s Mareel concept aims to deliver enriching wellness experiences that leave guests feeling radiant, from the inside out, just as its namesake – a glowing luminescence – lights the sea from within. Queen Anne’s Wellness Club will also boast a tailormade program for solo travelers, where, on embarkation night, like-minded guests will be able to relax and unwind together at a meet-and-greet.

As these pictures show, the vision of a tranquil sanctuary is coming to life, and it is here where guests will enjoy a variety of uniquely crafted experiences – from cryotherapy treatments to a Himalayan salt sauna and cold room – that will renew the mind, body, and soul.

One of Queen Anne’s stand-out wellness spaces is The Pavilion, an idyllic open-air oasis on the top deck, which features a specially designed glass dome roof that retracts in warmer climes. Inspired by beautiful glasshouses, it is the ideal spot for getting lost in a book or enjoying a dip in the pool by day and for meeting new friends in the evening.

The multi-purpose space, designed by David Collins Studio (of Harrods and Claridge’s fame), weaves together several wellness elements, and will encompass the top deck Wellness Studio – an ideal retreat for fitness fanatics, open from sunrise to sunset – as well as the Wellness Café, an alternative dining experience that will boast a colorful mix of seasonal, mouth-watering, and nutritious dishes.

The Wellness Café will cater for breakfast, lunch, and daytime diners, celebrating the vibrancy of plant-powered foods and sustainably sourced meat, dairy and fish options.

Acclaimed architect Martin Francis – who supported with engineering the iconic Louvre Pyramid in Paris – led a redesigning of the glass dome, which will now feature a refined arched steel frame to maximize height and light in the space as it stretches up and aft to create the new Wellness Studio.

At the shipyard

The tour was hosted by Captain Inger Thorhauge, the luxury cruise line’s first female Captain, who will be at the helm for Queen Anne’s maiden voyage from Southampton to Lisbon on 3 May 2024.

The event in Venice follows Queen Anne’s float out ceremony in May, a tradition where a ‘Madrina’ is named to offer blessings and best wishes for the ship, celebrating the first flow of water into the ship's dry dock.

The ship has since been moved from a construction dock to a fitting out basin nearby, and as these photos illustrate, the fitting out phase is in full swing.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 12.69 - 6.96%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 88.23 - 3.78%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.65 + 1.28%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Grace Line's Santa Paula of 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel at Kuwait City. She was originally built for Grace Line's New York to Central America service and carried 300 passengers, all first class. courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Montreal, Canada


Cruise News - October 2, 2023

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces 1,000 Dedicated Solo Staterooms
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it is set to introduce nearly 1,000 dedicated solo staterooms across its diverse 19-ship fleet.

Beginning this week and on a rolling basis, the Company will open for sale for the first time ever three new solo stateroom categories, including Solo Inside, Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony for future sailings starting Jan. 2, 2024. With pricing and availability dependent on the destination and demand, solo travelers can expect to pay less than a traditional double occupancy room.

“We strive to provide our guests with diverse offerings to create their dream vacation,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Since we first launched our solo staterooms in 2010 with Norwegian Epic, they have been quite popular with single travelers. We are continuously listening to our guests to deliver the experience they want. After realizing the growing demand of individuals looking to travel on their own, we have now expanded single occupancy staterooms across our fleet.”

Guests who stay in the new solo stateroom categories will also have access to the key card entry only Studio Lounge, available on select ships, which features a dedicated space to relax, a bar equipped with beer and wine and a variety of snacks served daily. In addition to their own lounge, solo cruisers can enjoy activities scheduled for single travelers to mix and mingle. With the capacity of solo stateroom categories expanding from nine ships to the full 19-ship fleet, single cruisers have more opportunities to visit bucket-list worthy destinations such as Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand on vessels which historically have not had this unique offering.

This announcement comes in response to a recent surge in the popularity of solo travel within the tourism industry, with a growing number of individuals choosing to travel the world solo, rather than traditional group travel with friends, family or partners. According to a study by Travelport, solo travel made up nearly 18% of global bookings in the travel industry. More recently in solo travel statistics, Radical Storage reported a 267% increase in online searches for the term “solo travel” between December 2020 to April 2022. Lastly, from 2019 to 2022, Norwegian saw an increase in guests booking accommodations as a single occupant in non-studio staterooms.

Celebrity Ascent Completes Sea Trials With Brother Captains at the Helm
Celebrity Cruises’ announced today that its newest ship, Celebrity Ascent, lived up to its name, reaching the pinnacle of its construction milestones with the successful completion of its first open ocean sailing. During the traditional shipbuilding process known as sea trials, Celebrity Ascent completed a series of maneuverability skills designed to test the ship’s functional and operational capabilities, which she passed with flying colors.

The ship’s brother captains, Demetrios and Tasos Kafetzis, were at the helm to oversee the intricate tests conducted in the Bay of Biscay near the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France where Celebrity Ascent has been under construction. In addition, nearly 200 crew members were onboard to test the ship’s equipment from bow to stern.

Celebrity Ascent offers guests all the design features and onboard amenities that travelers love on the first three Edge Series ships, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, and Celebrity Beyond, and then raises the bar with newly designed restaurants and culinary experiences, reimagined entertainment venues, and more.

Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, Celebrity Ascent offers a special 4-Night Western Caribbean preview voyage on Nov. 22, 2023, followed by another special 3-Night Bahamas preview getaway on Nov. 26, 2023. A celebratory 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Maiden Voyage departs the South Florida port on December 3, 2023, kicking off the ship’s inaugural Caribbean season featuring 7-night itineraries rotating between such popular Eastern and Western Caribbean destinations as the Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman; and San Juan, Tortola and St. Kitts, respectively. Then, Celebrity Ascent heads to the Mediterranean for a spectacular 2024 summer season of sailings including a 9-Night Italian Riviera and France itinerary; and the 12-Night Best of Greece and Italy itinerary.

Holland America Line Successfully Installs SpaceX's Starlink Internet Aboard More Than Half Its Fleet
Holland America Line is more than halfway through updating internet to SpaceX's Starlink across its fleet of 11 ships. The first ship to receive this next-generation technology was Koningsdam, and now Oosterdam, Volendam, Westerdam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam all have the high-speed internet on board.

Starlink is the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology providing high-speed internet around the world. Since receiving Starlink internet, the ships have sailed through Alaska, the Mediterranean and Canada with positive guest and team member feedback on the performance of the Wi-Fi.

"Our goal is to continue keeping all guests connected to the internet to share their memorable experiences, and to allow our team members to stay in touch with their loved ones back home," said Kathleen Erickson, vice president of technology for Holland America Line. "It's important we stay up to date with evolving technology to ensure the best experience for everyone stepping foot on our ships."

Adding Starlink to Holland America Line's fleet brings faster internet to guests and team members in all weather conditions and locations. The upgrade has made it easier to stay connected to friends and family around the globe and allows professional communications for guests who can't leave the office behind.

Holland America Line is scheduled to have Starlink internet installed on the remaining five ships in the fleet by mid-December 2023.

Carnival Corporation Reports All-time Record Revenue and Strong Third Quarter 2023 Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc reports third quarter 2023 earnings and provides an outlook for the full year and fourth quarter 2023.

"We delivered over $1 billion to the bottom line with revenue reaching an all-time high" commented Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Executive Officer Josh Weinstein. "Both revenue and earnings significantly exceeded expectations this quarter enabling us to take up expectations for the year."

Weinstein continued, "The outperformance was driven by strength in demand, with both our North America and Australia segment and Europe segment equally outperforming expectations. It is gratifying to see the power of our portfolio deliver, as our continental European brands have stepped up nicely. Our demand generation efforts are working across all regions, as we have consistently been achieving quarterly net per diems well in excess of 2019 levels, while closing the occupancy gap by 11 points over the course of the year."

Weinstein added, "I continue to be encouraged with our revenue trajectory heading into next year as we see no signs of slowing from our consumers."

Third Quarter 2023 Results

• For the first time since the resumption of guest cruise operations, U.S. GAAP net income turned positive, generating $1.07 billion, or $0.79 diluted EPS, marking a significant milestone. Adjusted net income of $1.18 billion, or $0.86 adjusted EPS, exceeded the June guidance range of $0.95 billion to $1.05 billion.

• Adjusted EBITDA of $2.22 billion also exceeded the June guidance range of $2.05 billion to $2.15 billion.

• Third quarter revenues hit an all-time high of $6.9 billion.

• While gross margin yields were down compared to 2019, net yields (in constant currency) exceeded strong 2019 levels (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Occupancy in the third quarter of 2023 was 109 percent, better than the company's expectations and a return to historical levels.

• Gross margin per diems were down compared to 2019. Net per diems (in constant currency) exceeded 2019 levels, overcoming headwinds from the removal of St. Petersburg, Russia as a marquee destination and were approximately one percentage point above the midpoint of the June guidance range (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

• Cruise costs per ALBD increased 8.9 percent as compared to the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) increased 15 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019, in line with June guidance (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below).

Total customer deposits reached a third quarter record of $6.3 billion, surpassing the previous third quarter record of $4.9 billion (as of August 31, 2019), by 28 percent. Bookings

Booking volumes during the third quarter continued at significantly elevated levels, setting a new third quarter record for total bookings during the quarter. Weinstein noted, "We are maintaining strong momentum and continuing to build demand through our improved commercial execution. Booking volumes during the quarter were running nearly 20 percent above 2019 levels and multiples of our capacity growth, which has continued into September. This has helped us extend the booking curve even further, with our North American brands exceeding historical highs and our European brands essentially achieving pre-pause levels."

The cumulative advanced booked position for full year 2024 is well above the high end of the historical range at higher prices (in constant currency) than 2023 levels. This aligns with the company's yield management strategy to base load bookings, lengthen the booking curve and optimize net yields. Weinstein added, "Our booked position for 2024 is further out than we have ever seen and at strong prices. With less remaining inventory to sell, despite a five percent increase in capacity, we are well positioned to drive pricing higher and deliver strong yield improvement in 2024."

2023 Outlook

For the full year 2023, the company expects:

• Adjusted EBITDA of $4.1 billion to $4.2 billion, within the June guidance range, despite the $125 million net unfavorable impact from fuel price and currency from June guidance Occupancy of 100 percent or higher

• Net per diems (in constant currency) up approximately 7.0 percent compared to 2019, one percentage point higher than the midpoint of June guidance, based on the continued strength in close-in demand

• Adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (in constant currency) at the high end of June guidance range

• Fuel consumption per ALBD to be nearly 16 percent lower than 2019, better than previously expected

For the fourth quarter of 2023, the company expects:

• Adjusted EBITDA of $800 million to $900 million

• Net yields (in constant currency) up mid-single digits compared to 2019 with occupancy in line with historical levels and net per diems (in constant currency) up 7.0% to 8.0% compared to 2019

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Celebrates Float Out of Second Yacht, Ilma
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection marked a significant construction milestone with the successful float out of its next superyacht, Ilma, at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. This traditional maritime celebration brought together senior leadership and shipbuilders in anticipation of Ilma touching water for the first time, signifying the commencement of its next phase of construction in preparation for its maiden voyage in 2024.

The float out event was attended by company leadership from The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection including Jim Murren, Executive Chairman and CEO, and Ernesto Fara, President and CFO. Also present were representatives from Chantiers de l'Atlantique, including Laurent Castaing, General Manager, and Arnaud Le Joncour, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

As part of the float out, the yacht's dry dock was filled with water overnight, then moved to an outfitting dock where it will remain for the rest of its build leading to sea trials in April and start of its first season. Now afloat, final-stage construction will focus on completing interiors, fixtures, and fittings for suites, restaurants, and other public spaces that will welcome guests to experience a new journey of discovery at sea in just less than a year.

"As we celebrate this remarkable milestone, we are immensely proud of the dedication and craftsmanship by all those involved in the construction of Ilma," remarked Jim Murren. "We are thrilled to have partnered with the team at Chantiers de l'Atlantique and are excited to enter the next stage of construction and outfitting in anticipation of the yacht's inaugural journey next year, expanding our fleet and vision within the ultra-luxury space."

Ilma, meaning "water" in Maltese, will be the second newbuild superyacht from The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Measuring 790-feet, the yacht will feature 224 airy, light-filled suites, all with private terraces, and will accommodate up to 448 passengers. Paving the way for a new era of cruising, this brand extension introduces an entirely unique experience at sea, illustrating the ongoing commitment to innovative luxury travel experiences from The Ritz-Carlton. Ilma will offer expansive public spaces and will have one of the highest space ratios at sea, ensuring an exceptional journey.

The onboard experience will reflect the unparalleled lifestyle and legendary service for which The Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized, including state-of-the-art technology, five distinct dining venues, and a Ritz-Carlton Spa. Delivering thoughtfully curated itineraries and unforgettable journeys for guests, Ilma will join the company's first yacht Evrima in visiting the most coveted destinations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, with select ports of call in Central America and South America, depending on the season.

The yacht's sleek and graceful exterior design, expertly crafted by Helsinki-based design studio Aivan, draws inspiration from the elegant aesthetics of private yacht design. Interiors will seamlessly blend warmth and sophistication with a relaxed atmosphere, showcasing modern craftsmanship and interior finishes imagined by AD Associates, a renowned London-based architectural and design firm, and award-winning lighting designer, DPA.

"We are thrilled to witness Ilma's float out. Ilma embodies Chantiers de l'Atlantique's dedication to ultra-luxury," expressed Arnaud Le Joncour. "This milestone marks the beginning of the next construction phase of outfitting. Drawing inspiration from Ilma's elegance, clean lines, and unique features, our teams are united in the pursuit of meeting the expectations of today's most discerning luxury travelers."

Carnival Cruise Line Opens Itineraries Featuring Celebration Key
Carnival Cruise Line opened for sale approximately 400 cruises that will bring guests to Celebration Key, its new exclusive cruise port destination in The Bahamas, beginning with the first calls in July 2025. Starting today, guests can book cruises on the first 12 Carnival ships, sailing regularly from eight homeports, visiting Celebration Key in 2025 and 2026.

"As the first port destination exclusively designed for Carnival Cruise Line guests, Celebration Key will provide the ultimate Carnival fun in the sun, immersed in the natural beauty of Grand Bahama. Our guests have a wide range of ships, homeports and itineraries that visit our new exclusive destination to choose from," said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. "And we've seen that there is a lot of interest in Celebration Key as thousands of Carnival guests signed up over the last week to be the first to know about the itineraries and features. The July 2025 opening will be here before we know it, and we are working closely with the Bahamian Government and the local Grand Bahama community to make this the premier exclusive cruise port destination in the Caribbean. We plan to announce further details on what guests can expect to experience while there in the near future."

Located on the south side of Grand Bahama Island, Celebration Key will offer a variety of fun, relaxation and adventure options for everyone. Promising guests a key to paradise no matter how they define it, there will be endless ways to enjoy the destination, whether the pristine white sands of the mile-long beach, authentic Bahamian shopping and dining, or excursions to explore the beautiful island of Grand Bahama. The destination's features and offerings will be anchored around the largest freshwater lagoons in the Caribbean that will offer numerous recreational and leisure activities for both families and adults. Carnival ships will dock at an adjacent cruise pier that can accommodate up to two of Carnival's Excel-class vessels simultaneously and will allow guests direct access to Celebration Key.

"This is so exciting for the people of Grand Bahama as we watch Celebration Key come to life. We have a bold vision of how Grand Bahama can become the premier destination for entertainment and events in the region and we look forward to showing Carnival's guests a warm and memorable vacation when they start visiting our beautiful island in 2025," added the Hon. Ginger Moxie, Minister for Grand Bahama.

The 12 Carnival ships, sailing regularly from eight homeports, that will visit Celebration Key are:

From PortMiami: Carnival Celebration and Carnival Conquest

• Carnival Celebration will sail seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from July 20, 2025.

• Carnival Conquest will sail three- and four-day Bahamas sailings beginning July 18, 2025.

From Port Canaveral: Mardi Gras, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Glory

• Mardi Gras will sail seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from July 19, 2025; as well as one nine-day Eastern Caribbean sailing on October 30, 2025. In addition, Mardi Gras will sail two 14-day Transatlantic voyages: the first from Port Canaveral to Barcelona on Sept. 13, 2025 and the second from Barcelona to Port Canaveral on Oct. 16, 2025.

• Carnival Freedom will sail four- and five- day Bahamas sailings beginning July 19, 2025.

• Carnival Glory will sail three- and four-day Bahamas sailings from July 21, 2025.

From Galveston: Carnival Dream and Carnival Legend

• Carnival Dream will offer eight-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from July 26, 2025.

• Carnival Legend will feature Celebration Key on several 10-day Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruises.

From New Orleans: Carnival Liberty

• Carnival Liberty will sail seven- and eight-day Eastern Caribbean voyages from July 20, 2025.

From Baltimore: Carnival Pride

• Carnival Pride will set sail on seven-day Bahamas sailings from July 20, 2025, along with a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise on Jan. 11, 2026.

From Jacksonville: Carnival Elation

• From July 21, 2025, Carnival Elation will offer four- and five-day Bahamas cruises.

From Norfolk, Va.: Carnival Sunshine

• Carnival Sunshine will sail six- and eight-day Bahamas cruises from October 18, 2025.

From Mobile, Ala.: Carnival Spirit

• Carnival Spirit will offer six- and eight-day Bahamas cruises beginning Nov. 2, 2025.

Princess Cruises Introduces Expansive Vegan Menus
Princess Cruises, renowned for its commitment to culinary excellence and world-class hospitality, has embarked on a new culinary journey to meet the evolving tastes and dietary needs of its guests. In response to a surging demand for plant-based cuisine, Princess Cruises is introducing a series of creatively crafted vegan menus, enhancing the dining experience for all onboard. The new menus, available in the main dining rooms, are currently rolling out across the fleet of 15 ships.

These menus exemplify the fusion of gourmet creativity and eco-consciousness, ensuring that every guest's dietary preferences are not only met, but celebrated. Prepared without the use of any animal products, the new vegan menus offer an array of starters, salads, soups, pastas and main dishes. With nightly menus served in the main dining rooms, guests can request the vegan options prior to their cruise—via the Cruise Personalizer, through their travel agent or by calling Princess—or once onboard.

"Our dedication to delivering unforgettable culinary experiences continues to evolve with current trends, including the desire for more vegan offerings," said Sami Kohen, Princess Cruises Vice President of Food and Beverage. "Our new plant-based dinner menus offer our vegan guests an extraordinary culinary journey while providing reassurance and peace of mind with dishes they know meet their lifestyle preferences."

The Princess Cruises vegan menus feature a robust offering of flavorful items including:

Starters

• Black Beans on Toast with Tomato and Avocado

• Roasted Pears with Dried Apricots and Pistachios

• Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos

Salads

• French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fine Herbs

• Green Goddess Salad with Tofu

• Endive, Beet and Pear Slaw

Soups

• Creamy White Bean

• Chickpea Noodle

• Roasted Eggplant and Tomato

Pastas

• Fettuccine with Walnut Sauce

• Penne with Red Pepper Pesto

• Farfalle and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil and Pine Nuts

Mains

• Stir-Fried Portobellos with Soy-Maple Sauce

• Plant-Based Shepherd's Pie

• Walkaway Ratatouille

Whether guests choose to embrace a plant-based lifestyle or simply wish to explore the delights of these vegan menus, the Princess commitment to culinary excellence ensures that every guest finds an exceptional dining experience.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 13.64 - 1.87%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 91.70 + 0.80%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 16.44 + 8.30%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What year did Carnival Cruise Lines begin operations and what was the name of their first cruise ship? Bonus: what was the original name of this ship and which line did she sail for?

Answer - Carnival's first cruise ship was the former Canadian Pacific liner EMPRESS OF CANADA which they renamed MARDI GRAS IN 1972. courtesy of Richard MacGregory


Cruise News - September 25, 2023

Azamara Unveils 2026 World Cruise
Azamara unveiled its 2026 World Cruise this week, a majestic journey setting sail from Miami, Florida on January 6, 2026. This grand expedition, concluding in the vibrant city of Barcelona, Spain, is a golden ticket to explore over 35 countries and experience the enchanting allure of the Seven Wonders of the World. Azamara Onward's world cruise is designed to grant guests an extended exploration with 55 late nights and overnights, 60 Extended Destination Days, 3 exclusive World Cruise events and 10 AzAmazing events, allowing for a deeper connection with each mesmerizing wonder and the diverse tapestry of cultures that surround them.

"We are thrilled to welcome our world cruisers on this journey of a lifetime," said Carol Cabezas, President of Azamara. "Our 2026 World Cruise offers our guests the unique opportunity to uncover a new perspective on a wide variety of cultures and visit all seven wonders of the world, while enjoying some of the most exclusive and specially curated events throughout this exciting itinerary."

Highlighted shore excursions and overnight experiences introducing guests to the Seven Wonders include:

• Chichen Itza: Wander through ancient realms, where the whispers of the great pyramid of Kulkulcan and the preserved Mayan ballpark intertwine with the enchanting tales of the Temple of Venus and the Temple of Warriors, all brought to life with the magic of virtual- and augmented-reality technology.

• Christ the Redeemer: Experience the iconic Christ the Redeemer within a grand multi-day exploration, unveiling Rio's architectural gems, the panoramic splendors of Sugar Loaf Mountain, the captivating beauty of Iguazu Falls, and the ancient mysteries of Easter Island's statues. Each moment is immersed in luxury and flavored with the diverse and spirited essence of these legendary locales, weaving a tapestry of unforgettable, enriching experiences.

• Taj Mahal: Discover the timeless Taj Mahal, a symbol of love, bathed in the changing hues of dawn. This multi-day journey unveils the majestic Agra Fort and enchanting "Baby Taj," immersing you in vibrant cultures, diverse flavors of Indian cuisine, and the luxury of The Oberoi hotels.

• Machu Picchu: Explore the enigmatic beauty of Machu Picchu and the ancient wonders of Cusco, including the colossal Sacsayhuaman Fortress, a symbol of Inca ingenuity. Enjoy the luxury of Palacio del Inca and exquisite Peruvian cuisine as you traverse breathtaking landscapes and discover revered sites like Qoricancha and the majestic Cathedral, rich with history and culture.

• Colosseum: Experience the iconic Colosseum through the eyes of a gladiator with exclusive access, surrounded by ancient bleachers, where echoes of the past resonate. Explore this architectural marvel and the remnants of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, steeped in history, before indulging in a delightful Italian lunch, completing this immersive journey into Rome's illustrious past.

• The Great Wall of China: Travelers will have the chance to fly to Beijing for three nights to explore the Forbidden City with an expert guide and visit the Great Wall to take in one of the world's greatest wonders of architectural history. Guests can also ride the cable car to explore the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace before heading to Hong Kong for three nights.

• Petra: Guests can journey to the desert city of Petra in Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once a mysterious city isolated in a forbidden valley, to hike through the 'Siq' and discover the Rose Red City. Travelers will have the unique opportunity to view and learn more about the Treasury, the Greek Theatre, ancient Royal Tombs, Colonnaded Street, and the Temple of Qasr Al-Bint.

World Cruisers will have access to a destination-concierge, and pre-cruise dedicated call center specialists as they plan their journey on Azamara. In addition to checking off countless bucket list travel destinations and experiences, Azamara's 2026 World Cruise offers over $22,000* in exclusive amenities, including 13 exclusive world voyage special events, $3,000 in onboard credit, an additional $4,000 onboard credit for shore excursions, airfare credit*, pre- and post-cruise transfers, a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, a premium beverage package upgrade, weekly laundry service, WiFi service and more. World cruisers will also enjoy the amenities that are always included with Always Azamara: five dining options, beverages including alcohol 24/7, tips and gratuities, cultural events, and unlimited self-service laundry

Four Seasons Yachts Redefines Luxury at Sea
Four Seasons, together with luxury yachting company Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings Ltd. and venerated Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, continues to build momentum towards the inaugural journey of Four Seasons Yachts. The venture brings together an unparalleled group of partners: Nadim Ashi and Philip Levine, entrepreneurs and bold visionaries of this distinctive yacht experience, paired with Four Seasons luxury hospitality leadership.

"Four Seasons Yachts represents a key pillar of our future growth and strategic vision, as we look to capitalize on new opportunities and build brand differentiation through immersive luxury experiences," says Alejandro Reynal, President and CEO, Four Seasons. "The inaugural Yacht is a manifestation of this vision, offering a world-class Four Seasons experience, at sea and on land, marked by the genuine, personalized service that our guests know and love."

Setting sail in late 2025, the vessel will be the first in the Four Seasons Yachts fleet. With a signed contract for the construction of the second Four Seasons vessel with Fincantieri to be delivered in late November 2026, this second vessel's order is worth more than EUR 400 million.

Larry Pimentel, President and CEO, Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings Ltd., Joint Owner and Operator, Four Seasons Yachts, and responsible for leading the enterprise, says, "When we launched Four Seasons Yachts in Monaco this time last year, we were humbled by the tremendous response and excitement about the offering, which sparked unprecedented interest in this stunning project."

Ultra-Luxe Design Innovations

The first Four Seasons Yacht features 95 suites with remarkable custom design, focused on removing barriers between guests, the sea, and their surroundings. To enjoy outdoor yachting moments, each suite features extensive terrace decks ranging from 100 square feet (9.3 square metres) for the deluxe suite, to nearly 5,000 square feet (457 square metres) for the Funnel Suite, which will be the Yacht's most expansive accommodation. With an all-suite, residential style product, the Yacht will set a new standard for privacy and guest-centric layout. From the vessel's waterline to the top deck, the unequalled sea-to-sky design features will offer standout and unparalleled Four Seasons experiences.

The Funnel Suite will be an astonishing four levels, offering more than 9,500 square feet (898 square metres) of combined indoor/outdoor living space, including a private wading pool and dedicated private spa area, creating a sea-view home away from home.

This immense suite can be further expanded with vertical and horizontal connectivity, allowing guests to have one of the largest continuously connected living spaces at sea. The Funnel Suite's iconic floor-to-ceiling wraparound curved glass window modules, made up of the largest contiguous piece of glass at sea, will offer stunning 280-degree panoramic views. With the glass of the Funnel Suite costing a total of USD 4.5 million, this one-of-a-kind engineering innovation is nothing short of remarkable, from its steel web frame support structure to its double glass thermal performance.

Another design first is the Yacht's bespoke onboard transverse marina, allowing guests easy access to a world of water sports adventure filled with state-of-the-art water toys in ports that are traditionally exclusive to privately-owned yachts. Pushing the boundaries of creativity and craftsmanship, the cutting-edge marina design features expansive openings across the vessel from port to starboard, offering large platforms and tiered lounging decks on both sides to maximize light and sea views while fostering visual and physical links - creating yacht moments with the magnificence of the sea.

Outdoors, water sports enthusiasts will enjoy private and exclusive sailing, snorkelling and wind surfing. Inside, an elegant lounge area outfitted with a stylish bar and dedicated al fresco seating areas reveals panoramic ocean views. Rentable custom crafted sea limousines designed for transfers and coastal grand touring along with a pair of beach landers are also part of the ship's signature marina experience, accessible in most anchor ports. What's more, a dedicated marina team ensures that guests receive the impeccable service they have come to expect from Four Seasons.

For those wanting to enjoy the sun from the pool deck, the canoe-aft deck will boast a 20-metre (66 foot) pool, one of the largest at sea. It will serve as the bustling centre of the vessel and a gathering place for guests who share an affinity for the refined, leisurely pace of yachting. The salt-water pool is designed so that it can be quickly emptied, the floor raised and converted into a multi-function area for performances, fashion shows, and weddings to name a few programming options. This hydraulic lift design borrows inspiration from the classic Christina O yacht, which also had many famous-first features.

Unveiling Four Seasons Yachts to Global Travellers

Driven by the need to manage extraordinary demand with scarcity of inaugural inventory, priority access to reserve Yacht voyages is being distributed by invitation-only, beginning with loyal Four Seasons guests and valued travel partners. Equally as important, this distribution approach acknowledges and cares for Four Seasons patrons and their qualified luxury travel advisors in a manner deserving of their loyalty and commitment to the brand.

A dedicated private client service division has been created with an elite team of personal yacht consultants, committed to delivering on the personalized service and genuine heart that Four Seasons is known for. With high-touch and high-tech tools, they will manage by-appointment demand starting with priority access options for the inaugural season. For those luxury travel enthusiasts who are interested in Four Seasons Yachts, a waitlist will also be available online at www.fourseasonsyachts.com.

Exploring the Yacht Playgrounds of the Caribbean and Mediterranean

The 2025/26 inaugural season ushers in the start of extraordinary yachting itineraries offered throughout winter and spring in the Caribbean. The Yacht will then return to the Mediterranean to cruise iconic yachting locales, from the French and Italian Rivieras to the Adriatic coastline and Greek Isles. The average journey will be seven days, affording back-to-back voyages of 21 days with distinct daily deployments. The first year's planning represents 33 countries, 137 unique destinations, and 76 late night evenings and/or overnights. Unique Four Seasons pre-and-post hotel and overland programs are in development and will be unveiled soon.

Oceania Cruises Announces Seven New 2025 Summer Sailings to French Polynesia and Hawaii
Oceania Cruises has announced seven new exotic summer sailings to French Polynesia and Hawaii on board the 670-guest boutique hotel-style Regatta in 2025, which will open for reservations on October 4, 2023. Sailing with Oceania Cruises is the ultimate way to visit these stunning destinations that offer a utopia of cultural encounters, memorable adventures and pristine natural surroundings.

The new cruises will visit French Polynesia and Hawaii during the ideal months of August, September and October when the regions boast abundant sunshine, pleasant, balmy temperatures and lower humidity. Itineraries span the gorgeous blue lagoon of Bora Bora, the black sand beaches of Tahiti, the colorful coral reefs of Raiatea, the soaring mountains in the verdant jungles of Nuku Hiva and more. Four of the seven new sailings link French Polynesia with the captivating craters, dramatic canyons and lush waterfalls of the Hawaiian archipelago. With Oceania Cruises, you can experience the paradise of these islands firsthand on immersive itineraries, discovering the traditions of native Polynesian culture, tasting the fresh flavors of the local cuisine and exploring the local communities and surrounding natural wonders.

"At Oceania Cruises, we offer a captivating array of sailings in French Polynesia and Hawaii, charting lesser-known coastlines and taking travelers to boutique ports and off-the-beaten-track islands thanks to our small, luxurious ships," commented Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. "One of the highlights of these parts of the world is undoubtedly the food. Whether you're exploring Bora Bora and Nuku Hiva or Nawiliwili and Hilo, the flavors of these islands are meant to be savored and enjoyed just as much as the spectacular scenery."

Sailing from Tahiti or Honolulu, the seven new voyages range from 10 to 18 days, allowing plenty of time for exploration, adventure and relaxation in these stunning regions of the world. While Tahiti may feel worlds away, the gateway of Papeete is readily accessible by flight from New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Sydney with convenient 8-hour non-stop flights from Los Angeles and 5-hour non-stop flights out of Auckland. Similarly, Honolulu is just a 6-hour direct flight away from Los Angeles and an 8 ½-hour direct flight from Auckland. In addition to the seven new sailings aboard Regatta in 2025, there are dozens of other destination-rich itineraries to choose from in the South Pacific, as well as Australia and New Zealand, in 2024 and 2025 with Oceania Cruises.

NEW SUMMER SAILINGS IN 2025

Polynesian Dreams: 15 days from Honolulu to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Papeete. Departs August 1 and September 15, 2025, which offers the itinerary in reverse.

Tahitian Legends: 10 days from Papeete to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Papeete, Moorea, Fakarava, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Bora Bora and Raiatea. Departs August 16 and 26, and September 5, 2025.

Divine Pacific Oases: 15 days from Honolulu to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Papeete. Departs September 30, 2025.

Song of Polynesia: 18 days from Papeete to Los Angeles aboard Regatta, visiting Papeete, Moorea, Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, Hilo, Lahaina, Honolulu, Nawiliwili and Los Angeles. Departs October 15, 2025.

REGATTA SHIPBOARD HIGHLIGHTS

Carrying just 670 guests, Regatta provides a boutique experience for travelers to explore the region, with itineraries designed to offer a unique flavor of the South Pacific. Guests will experience the ultimate in small ship luxury, with just 340 lavish suites and luxurious staterooms, nearly 70% of which feature private verandas. Lose yourself in one of the hundreds of books in the top-of-ship library, relax and rejuvenate in the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center or socialize with old and new friends in one of the eight lounges and bars on board. After dinner in one of the four gourmet, open-seating restaurants, take in a show or spend the evening in the casino.

EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH FRENCH POLYNESIA & HAWAII

One of the best ways to delve into the local island culture is through food, and both French Polynesia and Hawaii serve up some mouth-watering specialties, exotic dishes and delicious delicacies.

Try poisson cru: French Polynesia's version of ceviche, this dish features local raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, often with vegetables. You'll have plenty of chances to try it on a variety of excursions, and you'll regularly see it on local menus.

The mahi mahi burger and a mai tai at Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora are not to be missed. The thatched-roof restaurant with sand floors has served well-known faces including Jimmy Buffet, Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones and movie star couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell – it's an experience to remember.

Don't pass on the breadfruit: Called uru in Tahitian, this strangely versatile starch will appear on the table prepared in more ways than you can keep track of and is quintessentially French Polynesian. A staple form on Nuku Hiva involves roasting it over hot coals and then mashing it with coconut milk to create a dish called kaka.

You can't visit Hawaii without trying traditional poke, a raw fish bowl favored for its simplicity and freshness. Though all sorts of variations have become popular the world over, try ahi poke or tako poke – octopus – in its birthplace for a true taste of the classic dish.

A must-have at luaus, kalua pork is another Hawaiian favorite you'll find across the islands. The traditional method of slow roasting the pork in an imu, or underground pit, and seasoning it with local sea salt results in a succulent, smoky meat typically paired with rice and sauteed cabbage or coleslaw.

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

Bora Bora, French Polynesia, one of the most photogenic islands, is dominated by two peaks – Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia – both more than 2,000 feet high. Covered in emerald greenery, they create a dramatic backdrop for Bora Bora's shimmering lagoon, renowned for its breathtaking turquoise water. Under the sea, the reef encircling the island is a haven for a rainbow of exotic fish and turtles. Explore Bora Bora's dazzling lagoon, go on a guided off-road adventure across the island or see sharks and stingrays from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat.

Papeete, Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia, with clear blue waters, swaying palm trees, balmy weather and rich island culture. Enjoy a wide variety of restaurants and the best shopping in the region – be sure to look out for exquisite hand-carved wooden figurines and bowls as well as colorful patchwork textiles called tifaifai, appliqued quilts that are often handed down for generations. Feeling energetic? Then be sure to hike inland a couple of miles to Fautaua Waterfall, Tahiti's highest at an incredible 443 feet. Learn about the iridescence and luster of pearls at the Robert Wan Pearl Museum or take a walking tour of the colorful and creative street art and murals painted by talented international artists.

Hilo, Hawaii, is on the east coast of the Big Island and is renowned for its lush greenery. See how the 2018 reawakening of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, has changed the landscape at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Thrill seekers can choose from excursions such as a helicopter ride to Kilauea Volcano or zip-lining through a river gorge. Or for those who want to take it easier, a visit to Richardson Ocean Park, a black sand beach carved into the rocky shoreline, or a stroll through farmers markets with aisles of colorful fruits, vegetables and flowers, would be perfect.

Kailua-Kona on Hawaii has a laid-back vibe and myriad things to do: roam a national park, swim or snorkel in the sea, or play a round of golf at one of three courses overlooking the ocean. Visit Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation to learn about different beans and roasts and sample some of the aromatic fresh brews. Experience Magic Sands Beach, a beautiful stretch of turquoise water and white sand – when it's there. It's named Magic Sands Beach because every so often a big storm will take all the sand out to sea, exposing rock until the sandy beach is returned by the sea over time.

Villa Vie Residences Introduces New Approach to World Cruises
Villa Vie Residences, an innovative new world cruise brand, today announced details on its visionary new concept. Beginning in May of 2024, Villa Vie will circumnavigate the world every 3.5 years, visiting more than 420 ports in 147 countries across all seven continents. Aspiring global travelers can embark on the voyage of a lifetime by purchasing a cabin to own onboard or joining the VVRI Voyagers Program, where they can curate their own unique journey and combine up to 16 world cruise segments.

"Villa Vie Residences is not just a cruise; it's a lifestyle reimagined," said Mikael Petterson, the company's chief executive officer and a seasoned cruise industry executive. "With the launch of our new brand, we are empowering travelers to make the world their home, all while enjoying unmatched luxury and flexibility."

From the enchanting fjords of Northern Europe and the icy fjords of Greenland to the vibrant Caribbean, the soul of South America and the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, Villa Vie Residences' promises a new chapter in the adventure of a lifetime. With diverse regions spanning the globe, from the majestic landscapes of Africa to the pristine beaches of the South Pacific and the bustling cities of Asia, Villa Vie Residences offers a truly immersive and enriching experience that unveils the world's wonders at every turn of the journey.

With a focus on providing unparalleled experiences, Villa Vie Residences is revolutionizing the world cruise concept with two innovative options:

Own a Cabin at Sea

• Through its residential ownership program, Villa Vie lets travelers embrace life as a global resident by owning their very own cabin at sea. Cabins are fully equipped and elegantly designed floating havens for those seeking to call the world's most breathtaking destinations home:

• Prices start at $99,999

• Family and friends can visit at no cost ($33 daily port taxes and gratuities apply)

• Ability to rent out cabin when unable to be onboard

Craft Your Own Ultimate World Cruise

• Through its unique Voyagers Program, Villa Vie is answering the call for flexibility from the world's most discerning travelers, allowing them to curate their own journey and purchase segments of the continuous world cruise program that range from 35 to 120 days:

• Prices start at $89/day per person

Travelers have the ability to choose from 16 various segments of the meticulously crafted 1,301-day itinerary

A new standard of luxury will be featured onboard for Villa Vie Residences' owners and guests, offering all-inclusive living that extends to every facet of the experience. Residents can enjoy everything from a cutting-edge business center complete with private offices and an inviting library, to a culinary arts center with interactive cooking classes and self-service options. Additional amenities will include multiple dining venues, an onboard Pet Spa & Resort, a golf-around-the-world program, modern fitness center, vibrant live entertainment and sustainable enrichment programs, among others. Residents will enjoy the comforts of home with complimentary services including weekly professional housekeeping, bi-weekly laundry service and 24/7 medical support.

Villa Vie Residences is slated to begin its inaugural 1,301-day journey around the world in May of 2024. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Cunard Announces Three-year Partnership with British Film Institute for Queen Anne
Cunard has teamed up with the British Film Institute (BFI) for an exclusive new partnership that will make waves with film lovers ahead of the launch of the line's newest ship, Queen Anne.

The cruise line has announced a three-year partnership with the UK's lead organization for film, TV, and the moving image. The collaboration will see a curated program of short films and beloved blockbusters shown exclusively on the outdoor screen in The Pavilion aboard Queen Anne.

The Pavilion is an idyllic open-air oasis on the top deck of Cunard's newest ship, and the BFI will be showing 10 films every month on the cinematic LED screen in this romantic outdoor space. These specially selected films will also be shown in guests' staterooms.

As a multi-purpose space, The Pavilion boasts a specially designed glass dome roof that retracts in warmer climates. Inspired by beautiful glasshouses, it is the ideal spot for getting lost in a book or enjoying a dip in the pool by day and for meeting new friends over a glass of wine in the evening.

The space has been designed by David Collins Studio, with its sophisticated aesthetic likened to a ship sailing through serene waters as guests breeze from one moment to the next. The gentle arc of the glass dome encompasses all the experiences within the space, and opens to let the outside in.

Acclaimed architect Martin Francis – who supported with engineering the iconic Louvre Pyramid in Paris – led a redesigning of the glass dome, which will now feature a refined arched steel frame to maximize height and light in the space as it stretches up and aft to create the new Wellness Studio.

Queen Anne's wider design concepts have been founded on heritage, craftmanship, style, storytelling, and innovation, and the 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest ship, which spans 14 decks, will offer guests several breath-taking experiences, and more choices of entertainment, dining, and bars than ever before.

BFI Partnership

In addition to the collaboration with The Pavilion on Queen Anne, Cunard will be a main sponsor of the 67th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, which runs at venues across London, as well as in nine UK partner cinemas, from October 4-15, 2023, as well as in 2024 and 2025.

On October 11, the Cunard Gala will support the European premiere of The Holdovers at the BFI London Film Festival – in association with Universal Pictures and Focus Features – at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. The Holdovers is a new American comedy-drama from acclaimed director Alexander Payne.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the British Film Institute, with our shared dedication to providing immersive experiences aligning perfectly. We're hugely proud of our long-standing affiliation with the silver screen, with some of Hollywood's biggest names having sailed in style with Cunard – from Charlie Chaplin to Meryl Streep. As the first cruise line to host an on board film premiere with the launch of The Greatest Showman on Queen Mary 2 in 2017, we are incredibly passionate about the power of timeless storytelling. We have dedicated spaces for film enthusiasts across the fleet, and our new ship Queen Anne will boast even more big screen experiences for guests. Together with the BFI, we'll strive to create unparalleled and unforgettable moments for film lovers."

Francesca Vinti, BFI Executive Director of Fundraising and Enterprise, added: "We are thrilled to be working alongside Cunard on this partnership and are incredibly thankful for their support of the BFI and the BFI London Film Festival. We are excited to be able to reach audiences in new inventive ways with amazing films and look forward to collaborating with Cunard over the next three years."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 13.90 - 7.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 90.97 - 5.16%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH)<14.8013.05 15.18 - 11.33%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What year did Carnival Cruise Lines begin operations and what was the name of their first cruise ship? Bonus: what was the original name of this ship and which line did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Just outside of the Britannia Restaurant on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 are a series of metallic, art deco-influenced frescoes celebrating the historical and cultural icons of the continents. In addition to the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol on the "North America" mural there is a very tiny and surprising representative of the continent? Can you name him/her?

Answer - Homer Simpson is on the mural on the QM2 ! courtesy of Robert Alderman


Cruise News - September 18, 2023

Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas Floats for the First Time
It was a big weekend for the world’s biggest weekend: Royal Caribbean International’s Utopia of the Seas is now one step closer to its debut in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida, in July 2024. The game-changing Oasis Class ship floated for the first time over the weekend, marking a major milestone and the next phase of construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Known as the float out, the key moment in the construction of Utopia took 17 months to reach. The process itself took nearly 15 hours, beginning with filling the new ship’s dry dock with more than 46 million gallons of water overnight. Utopia was then moved into an outfitting dock, where it will be completed in summer 2024. Since construction on the next Oasis Class ship started in April 2022, the new vacation has taken shape with more than 74 blocks of steel that have been lifted and assembled into place. Utopia will now begin to come to life as its highly anticipated features are installed, from the longest dry slide at sea – the 295-foot-long Ultimate Abyss – to a first-of-its-kind immersive train car dining experience.

Utopia will introduce unmatched weekend energy across a combination of more than 40 ways to dine and drink, more pools than the days to count, thrills, ways to chill and more. Friends and families celebrating any occasion can create their ultimate weekend and memories with their pick and mix of new signature adventures and reimagined experiences, like newly designed resort-style pools, a new Caribbean tiki bar – the Pesky Parrot – a reimagined Izumi restaurant, now in Central Park, with a new convenient pick-up window for fresh sushi and Japanese street food, and al fresco dining; and showstopping nightlife and entertainment.

The ultimate 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday getaway will be the first in the revolutionary Oasis Class to offer short escapes when it debuts in July 2024. Every vacation will feature visits to Nassau, The Bahamas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay – Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island – that will feature its first adults-only slice of paradise, Hideaway Beach, starting in January 2024.

Utopia will also make waves when it debuts in July 2024 as the first Oasis Class ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the cleanest-burning marine fuel to date. As the cruise line’s second LNG-powered ship – following Icon of the Seas ­– Utopia will advance Royal Caribbean’s decades-long commitment to the environment by combining LNG technology with a lineup of the brand’s already-established environmentally friendly initiatives and features, from waste heat recovery systems to shore power connection.

Cunard Announces New 2025 Program for Queen Anne, Queen Mary 2, and Queen Victoria
Cunard has pioneered ocean travel for more than 180 years and now the luxury cruise line is offering travelers the chance to set sail on more unforgettable holidays with the release of 180 new voyages for 2025.

"With 180 fantastic itineraries to choose from, there really is a Cunard voyage for everyone."

The compelling program features sailings between April 2025 and January 2026 and includes an eclectic mix of exciting itineraries spanning 91 destinations, across 24 countries globally, on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Anne, and Queen Victoria.

Queen Anne will primarily be sailing to the Western Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords and Western Europe, while Queen Mary 2 will continue her iconic Transatlantic Crossings and Queen Victoria will be based in the Mediterranean. Each Queen's program boasts at least one maiden call; however, Queen Anne will make no fewer than 19 maiden calls – including Bilbao, Ibiza, Skjolden, Messina and Santorini.

Queen Anne

Guests will discover their dream destination with Queen Anne in 2025. As the newest addition to the Cunard fleet, her design concepts have been founded on heritage, craftmanship, style, storytelling, and innovation, and the 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest ship, which spans 14 decks, will offer travelers several breath-taking experiences, and more choices of entertainment, dining, and bars than ever before.

For her 2025 program, Queen Anne will be sailing out of Southampton, England, providing a range of destinations and itinerary lengths varying from two to 19 nights, which will include 19 maiden calls. From a 12-night voyage taking in the mystical landscapes of the Norwegian Fjords in June to a 16-night Mediterranean sailing around France, Spain, and Italy in July – taking in several of Europe's most enchanting ancient cities – Cunard's newest Queen will be embarking on a host of captivating voyages.

Queen Mary 2

From the UNESCO-inscribed architecture of Old Quebec to the medieval streets of Bruges, guests will discover holidays on both sides of the Atlantic on Cunard's flagship and the world's only true ocean liner in 2025.

Whether it's the white sands and warm shallows of the Caribbean in December or indulging in Cunard signatures during uninterrupted sea days on a Transatlantic Crossing, a voyage on Queen Mary 2 is always an extraordinary experience.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria will be based in the Mediterranean across the program from May to October 2025, offering a range of 7, 14 and 21-night itineraries out of Barcelona, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Trieste.

One of the many dazzling highlights of Queen Victoria's 2025 program is her two-week Istanbul and Greek Islands sailing in May. This voyage from Civitavecchia takes in some of the Eastern Mediterranean's greatest treasures, from exploring Turkish seas to serene Greek islands, each port makes for an adventure to remember.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: "We are incredibly excited to be launching our new 2025 program and with 180 fantastic itineraries to choose from, there really is a Cunard voyage for everyone. Whether it's an iconic Transatlantic crossing, a Scandinavian adventure, or Christmas in the Caribbean, our fleet of Queens provide the perfect opportunity to explore the world in style.

Princess Announces New 2025 Cruises and Cruisetours from Japan
In response to increasing demand for cruises in Japan – one of the hottest trends in travel - Princess Cruises has released its 2025 Japan cruise season. The newly announced 2025 Japan cruise season offers travelers the wonders of this island nation where ancient traditions and modernity co-exist in harmony.

From ancient temples and storied castles to bustling markets and breathtaking gardens, cruisers experience the best of Japan with Princess in 2025 on 35 cruises ranging in length from seven- to 22-day. The March through August season features Japan-built Diamond Princess sailing from Tokyo (Yokohama) to 36 destinations in 3 countries with the #1 North American Cruise Line in Japan. The season is now on sale.

"Japan is best experienced on a cruise, sailing around this scenic island nation taking in festivals, flowers, legendary sites and landscapes," said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. "Our upcoming 2025 season features itineraries and offerings crafted with area tourism boards to showcase the best of the local art, cuisine, music and popular culture."

2025 Itinerary Highlights:

• 10-day and NEW 11-day Spring Flowers cruises in March and April, cruising to all four main islands and following the predicted blooming season as it moves from south to north.

• 9-day Southern Islands itineraries with two calls to the Okinawan islands and two calls to Taiwan, including a return to Hualien.

• 9-day and 10-day Sea of Japan voyages that feature ports along the historic Kitamaebune trading route.

• 10-day Hokkaido voyages that visit Otaru (for Sapporo), Hakodate, and Kushiro.

• 10-day Japan Explorer voyages that call to some of the country's most iconic destinations like Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji), Osaka or Kobe (for Kyoto), Hiroshima, and more.

• Scenic cruising of the Kanmon Straits, the stretch of water separating Honshu and Kyushu.

Traditional Japanese summer festivals take place throughout the country in the summer, especially in August. Guests sailing to Japan with Princess in 2025 will have the chance to enjoy four of these unique festivals:

• Aomori Nebuta Festival (August 2 and 7)

• Kochi Yosakoi Dance Festival (August 12)

• Tokushima Awa Dance Festival (August 13)

• Kumano Fireworks Festival (August 17)

More Ashore:

With late-night and overnight stays, guests can spend more time in port and experience the culture and lifestyle.

Four late-night More Ashore ports including Aomori (for Nebuta Festival), Kochi (for Yosakoi Festival), Shimizu (for Mt. Fiji), and Tokushima (for Awa Odori Festival).

Highlights of Japan Cruisetour:

With options to combine a cruise and land tour for a deeper look at Kyoto and Tokyo, guests tour Kyoto's intricate gardens, sightsee at Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. They also have more time to explore bustling Tokyo and visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mt. Fuji with stunning views from Togendai and Lake Ashi.

Built in Japan, 2,670-guest Diamond Princess offers a unique experience tailored to the region. Guests enjoy authentic cuisine at Kai Sushi, sip Japanese-inspired cocktails created by mixologist Rob Floyd, soak in the traditional Izumi bath and enjoy folkloric shows, regional entertainment and Japanese holiday celebrations.

Royal Caribbean Group Drives Forward Alternative Fuel Use with The Successful Completion of Biofuel Testing
This week, Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) laid important groundwork for the industry's alternative fuel ambitions by completing over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. The company's steadfast pursuit to find lower-carbon energy solutions is driven by its SEA the Future commitment to sustaining the planet, energizing communities, and accelerating innovation. By introducing methods that reduce emissions today, Royal Caribbean Group is ultimately advancing the decarbonization of its operations.

"This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group's alternative fuel journey," said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly."

Today, in Barcelona, Royal Caribbean International's Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs. The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable "drop in" supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.

"Royal Caribbean's success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector. In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport," said the President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó.

The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trail this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International's Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Apex. The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel's capabilities. These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group's plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition.

Royal Caribbean Group's sustainability journey began over 30 years ago, and it has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate, and advance, the solutions necessary for a more sustainable future.

Cunard Announces Roll Out of SpaceX's Starlink Across Its Fleet
Cunard has announced it is rolling out a new Wi-Fi service on board as it launches SpaceX's Starlink across its fleet.

Starlink, the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology, will provide guests with greater capacity across Cunard ships, allowing for sharing photos and videos, streaming films, and enjoying other content on board with a more reliable Wi-Fi connection at even faster speeds.

The roll-out of Starlink aboard Cunard Queens began in June 2023, with the service due to be available in both public spaces and staterooms on Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth by the end of 2023.

Cunard's newest ship, Queen Anne, will launch with the service in May 2024.

Cunard President Katie McAlister said: "Sharing unforgettable moments with friends and family back at home is an important part of any holiday. Whether it's uploading a picture of a sunset as you sail away from a newly discovered destination or catching up with the news, live events, or content from home, Starlink will make it even easier for our guests and colleagues to stay connected."

Starlink vice president of commercial sales Jonathan Hofeller said: "High-speed internet is critical to our modern lifestyle both at home and when travelling. We're excited that Cunard guests and crew will benefit from an improved Wi-Fi service on board wherever they are in the world."

Royal Caribbean Reveals Hideaway Beach, the First Adults-only Escape on Perfect Day at Cococay
Dialing up the perfect at the one-of-a-kind Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas, Royal Caribbean International reveals the first look at the private island's first adults-only escape – Hideaway Beach. The beachfront paradise, set to open in January 2024 with the debut of the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas, is an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more. Vacationers can be the first to book their adults-only experience beginning today at www.RoyalCaribbean.com/Hideaway-Beach.

Hideaway Beach adds to what continues to be an unmatched combination of ways to do just that."

Tucked away on the northwest beach of Perfect Day at CocoCay, Hideaway Beach packs the best of a tropical getaway. For an entry charge, vacationers age 18 and older can celebrate, cool off and kick back across a private beach, two pools, 20 cabanas, seven open-air bars and spots to grab a bite, and more:

Adulting Beachside or Poolside

• Hideaway Beach – From end to end is over an acre of The Bahamas' white sand beaches and turquoise waters exclusive to Hideaway Beach guests. Vacationers can enjoy the beachfront views and breeze at any one of the resort-style loungers and umbrellas along the shore or on the in-water hammocks and swings while playing beach games and listening to the beats of the live DJ by the pool.

• Hideaway Pool – Partygoers can turn up the volume on the celebration with all-day tunes from the DJ and the lively swim-up bar at the center of the action. With in-water seating and loungers, and poolside loungers throughout the heated infinity-edge pool, every spot is also the best seat in the house to take in the picture-perfect views.

• Hideaway Cabanas – Just steps away from the party, vacationers can level up their day in paradise at 10 chic poolside cabanas that have a range of amenities like cabana attendant service at the push of a call button, a mini-fridge, floating beach mats and charging outlets.

• The Hideout – This nook at one end of Hideaway Beach is just close enough to the buzz but carves out an exclusive, elevated experience. In one of 10 Hideout Cabanas, those looking for a more VIP, chill vibe can kick back at a heated infinity-edge plunge pool – exclusive to The Hideout guests – and enjoy the convenience of perks like cabana attendant service, in-water loungers, an outdoor shower and resort-style seating.

Laidback Bites and Drinks

• On the Rocks – The area's new and unofficial lookout, this al fresco bar along the rocky shore serves up a vibrant scene of live musicians, TVs to watch live sports, games like pool and shuffleboard, and memorable ocean views along with refreshing drinks like frozen margaritas and mai tais.

• Hideaway Bar – The swim-up bar at Hideaway Pool is the place to be and be seen, and with two levels, vacationers can take their drinks poolside or without leaving the water to maximize every minute of their island time.

• Slice of Paradise – This all-new rustic pizza haven with a bar and complimentary food includes fresh-from-the-oven favorites, island twists like a Bahamian guava barbecue chicken option and more.

• Snack Shack – A staple on Perfect Day at CocoCay, this new location offers the popular menu's complimentary chicken sandwiches, burgers, fried mozzarella sticks, fresh salads and more, as well as shaded seating, and Adirondack chairs and tables on the sand.

• Beach Bars – Rounding out the experience are two full-service beach bars located on both sides of the new beachfront paradise, so a drink is never far away.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 15.04 - 2.84%